Week in Review


July 23 – July 27, 2018

Giffords Announces Slate of Challenger Endorsements
This week Giffords announced 22 gun safety champions for Congress. These challengers are a part of the Giffords #VoteCourage campaign to elect gun reform candidates. This year’s slate of candidates come from all different backgrounds and walks of life, but they understand that oneproblems every community faces is our gun violence crisis. Our candidates running against incumbents in Congressional, Senate, and Gubernatorial backgrounds include 32 women, 18 minority candidates and 11 veterans. Short biographies and other information about Giffords endorsed candidates are available on our website.

Giffords also began their partnership with the individuals selected for the inaugural Courage Fellowship this week. The 28 student leaders announced traveled to Washington DC for a three-day team building and organizing workshop meeting. The program, launched this year, gives students the resources and opportunities to continue their efforts to improve gun safety laws where they live. Ranging from ages 16 to 20.

After Parkland, gun-control advocates see a turning point for new state laws | Washington Post | Amber Phillips
Since the Parkland, Fla., high school massacre in February, gun-control advocates have said there is something different about the debate this year, an energy on the issue that is driving gun safety to the top of minds of suburban moms and younger, traditionally less engaged voters. How, or if, that affects the November midterm elections is to be determined. But there is an early manifestation of this newfound political energy: Gun-control advocates had their best year in state legislatures in recent history. Since the Florida shooting, the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence counts 55 new gun-control laws passing in 26 states. That is far more success than they normally see, any way you measure it: in the number of laws, the variety of the laws passed and the bipartisan support a number of them had. Republican governors in 15 states signed bills gun-control advocates supported.

More Than Half Of U.S. States Strengthened Gun Laws After Parkland Shooting | HuffPost | Nick Wing
In the wake of mass shootings in Las Vegas; Sutherland Springs, Texas; and Parkland, Florida, millions of Americans have rallied behind a budding movement of student activists demanding legislative change. Their calls may not have resonated in Congress, which hasn’t passed a majorgun control law in nearly a quarter-century, but a new report finds that lawmakers in 26 states have picked up the slack, passing 55 gun safety bills in just five months since the Parkland massacre. It’s a nearly unprecedented period of success for firearms safety advocates, according to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, the national nonprofit that tallied the bills.

No Longer Gun Shy | U.S. News & World Report | Susan Milligan
Young voters concerned about gun deaths are registering to vote in record numbers.
Candidates used to be able to rely on two axioms: young people don’t vote, and gun control is not a winning issue for Democrats in competitive races. But a surge of political activism among youth – combined with student demands for more gun safety laws – has thrown both presumptions out the window.

Democratic Ads Show Gun Violence Remains Salient Primary Issue | Roll Call | Bridget Bowman
A gun control activist won her Democratic primary in Georgia on Tuesday, and she’s not the only Democrat talking about gun violence on the campaign trail even though the issue has largely faded from the headlines. Lucy McBath, a spokeswoman for Everytown for Gun Safety, won a runoff to take on GOP Rep. Karen Handel in the suburban Atlanta-based 6th District. And Democratic candidates in at least three different districts have spent their campaign funds on television ads focused on gun violence, bringing the issue to the forefront ahead of their primaries next month…Kirkpatrick has said she changed her mind on gun control, particularly after the 2011 shooting in Tucson, most of which is in the 2nd District. Former Democratic Rep.Gabrielle Giffords was seriously injured during that shooting at a constituent event. Both Giffords and former Rep. Ron Barber, a onetime aide who succeeded her after she stepped down, have endorsed Kirkpatrick.

U.S. gun control groups seek to block distribution of 3-D gun blueprints | Reuters | Sarah N. Lynch
Three gun control advocacy groups are banding together to try to block the Trump administration from allowing Americans to access blueprints for 3-D printable guns on the internet. In a July 24 letter to a federal judge in Texas seen by Reuters, the groups said they would seek an injunction to block a company called Defense Distributed from publishing schematic designs for the guns online. Such postings on the internet have the potential to allow anyone, equipped with a readily accessible 3-D printer, to make their own firearm. Tuesday’s letter was signed by the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Everytown for Gun Safety and the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. 

The NRA connection: A problem for the GOP in the midterms | Washington Post | Jennifer Rubin
The Republicans’ continued inability to stand up to President Trump for his pro-Russian obsequiousness and to take seriously the Russian plot to manipulate our elections will be front and center in the midterms. It’s not simply a failure to defend the country against Vladimir Putin and his lackey Trump that may come back to haunt Republicans. Republicans are themselves implicated in Russian meddling, albeit indirectly. The indictment of Russian Maria Butina, who allegedly infiltrated the National Rifle Association, and further investigation of the NRA may complicate the campaigns of Republicans who took NRA money and continue to court its support.

Under the Radar
‘There were three shooters’ | Washington Post | Frances Stead Sellers and Mark Berman
Juan Carlos Nazario was sitting on a lakeside bench waiting to play soccer when he heard the staccato popping of gunshots outside Louie’s On the Lake, a popular waterfront grilland pub. He ran to his car to get his gun and moved toward the sounds. Bryan Whittle was driving with his wife, heading off for a Memorial Day weekend getaway, when he saw a commotion outside Louie’s. He thought someone might be drowning, so instead of turning his truck onto the highway, he barreled into the parking lot to offer help. As he jumped out, what he learned stunned him: There was an active shooter just yards away, and wounded victims were holed up in the restaurant’s bathroom. Whittle, too, grabbed his gun. In a matter of seconds, the two armed citizens became self-appointed protectors, moving to take up positions around the shooter, drawing their weapons and shouting for him to drop his. Time stretched and warped. There was an exchange of gunfire. The gunman was hit several times and fell. As Nazario and Whittle converged over the man to restrain him, police arrived. Unsure who was who, officers handcuffed all of the men and put them on the ground as the shooter bled out into the grass and died.

Senate Intel Had Asked For Financial Documents On The Russian Gun Rights Activist | Buzzfeed | Emma Loop and Jason Leopold
The top congressional committee investigating Russian election interference had been probing the finances of a 29-year-old Russian gun rights activist before she was arrested and charged by the US on Sunday with being an agent of the Kremlin and attempting to influence US politics.
Federal authorities charged Maria Butina with working “as an agent of a foreign government, specifically the Russian Federation,” without notifying the US government as the law requires. Butina had helped try to set up a secret meeting between then-presidential candidate Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin during the 2016 election.

Kavanaugh Could Tip Supreme Court Against Gun Control Laws | NPR| Nina Totenberg
In the battle over the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh, the usual suspects are lining up in support and opposition. At the grass roots, however, there is one new entry nervously eyeing the Kavanaugh nomination. It is March For Our Lives, started by high school students in Parkland, Fla., after the shooting there, and aimed ultimately at enacting more effective gun regulations. “Kavanaugh’s basically the roadblock to anything we want happening,” said Charlie Mirsky, the 18-year-old political director of March for Our Lives. “We believe that if we got anything passed, he could declare it unconstitutional,” he said. “He could just block anything we want from staying in place.”

Giffords: Gun Law Trendwatch 2018 Mid-Year Review

  • 55 bills designed to keep guns out of dangerous hands have been signed into law in 26 states.
  • Republican governors in 15 states have signed gun safety bills that strengthen their current laws.
  • Thanks to the unyielding efforts of the gun violence prevention movement and groups like Giffords, there’s been a remarkable increase in states passing effective gun laws and blocking dangerous gun lobby measures. This activism helped defeat 44 dangerous gun lobby-backed bills in 31 states so far this year.

New Jersey: 3D-printed guns have N.J. officials freaked out
Authorities in New Jersey are looking to block a Texas nonprofit from releasing open source gun schematics that would allow anyone with a 3D printer to manufacture a firearm at home. The move comes after federal authorities reached a settlement with Defense Distributed in a 2015 dispute over its publication of the designs. Defense Distributed, which promotes do-it-yourself firearms, is slated to begin posting the plans August 1.

Florida: Democrats demand Scott call for independent investigation into Putnam’s concealed weapons program
As more information comes out about the mishandling of concealed weapons permits under Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, Democrats on Wednesday shifted focus to Gov. Rick Scott. Florida House Minority Leader Janet Cruz, D-Tampa, and U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch called on Scott to launch an independent investigation into the concealed weapons program. “Scott is the CEO of this state and he’s done nothing,” Cruz said in a conference call arranged by the state Democratic Party. “Demand some damn accountability and do what should have been done a month ago.”

Texas: After Santa Fe school shooting, Texas unlikely to expand 
The school shooting at Santa Fe High School that left 10 people dead sparked new interest in a Texas law designed to protect victims of domestic violence and keep guns away from their abusers, setting up a showdown over firearms restrictions in the 2019 legislative session. But after hours of public testimony, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick dashed the hopes of groups calling for broader restrictions that would force gun owners to surrender their weapons in other cases, such as when they make threats. As leader of the Senate, he said he has “never supported these policies, nor has the majority of the Texas Senate.”
weak red-flag gun law

MarylandGov. Larry Hogan distances himself from the National Rifle Association
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has no plans to accept donations from the gun lobby and no intention of filling out a questionnaire from the National Rifle Association, his deputy campaign manager said Monday. Doug Mayer said the governor told a group of students last week that he has “no interest” in accepting contributions from the gun rights group or answering the survey, which the organization generally uses to decide whether to endorse candidates.

Washington: The NRA Is Suing Seattle Over Its Gun Storage Law, But The Mayor “Will Continue To Fight”
Seattle’s attempts to make gun owners in thecity safely store their guns is under attack by Second Amendment activists and groups like the NRA. In protest, the NRA sued Seattle for its gun ordinance. They even named the mayor, police department and police chief in the court papers. The city’s ordinance would charge residents up to $10,000 for the most severe infractions, like when an unsecured firearm is used to commit a crime or causes an injury or death. Mayor Jenny Durkan, a Democrat, announced the suit on Twitter on Friday.

California: In L.A. stop, Parkland students 
The Parkland students — survivors of a February mass shooting in Florida — brought their activism to Los Angeles this week as they try to maintain momentum in their push for greater gun control at the local and national level. The students, part of a recently formed organization called March for Our Lives, are on a bus tour to accelerate voter registration among young people. “The lack of voter turnout is unacceptable,” said David Hogg, 18, one of the highest-profile student leaders, speaking at a Los Angeles event. “Voting is the best form of civil discourse that is out there.” The group’s underlying agenda remains tighter gun controls, including banning assault weapons, high-capacity ammunition magazines (which allow shooters to fire for long periods without reloading) and bump stocks (which convert semiautomatic weapons into rapid-fire guns).
continue push for gun control and voter registration