Press Release

Giffords Elevates Gun Safety Champions; Takes on NRA in Congressional Battlegrounds

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MEMORANDUM
TO Interested Parties
FROM  Peter Ambler, Executive Director, GiffordsPAC
DATE   November 6, 2018
RE  Giffords Elevates Gun Safety Champions; Takes on NRA in Congressional Battlegrounds

__________

Today, voters from across the country will go to the polls, but before any votes are counted, one thing is clear: the politics of guns has shifted dramatically in the past year.

In 2018, gun safety went from third rail to top issue in some of the most contentious campaigns. Millions of voters—young and old, Democrat and Republican, urban and suburban—rallied for stronger gun laws and the candidates who support them. Campaign ads touting gun safety far outnumbered ones focused on gun rights. And gun safety groups like Giffords outspent the NRA by tens of millions of dollars, even in the deepest of red states, like Texas.

With the NRA approval rating reaching record lows and families’ fear of gun violence reaching record highs, this election cycle Giffords made sure critically important voters knew the truth about their Members of Congress who voted to weaken gun laws or opposed background checks while taking contributions from the gun lobby. Giffords PAC ran an aggressive independent expenditure campaign of nearly $7 million to take on Republican Members of Congress in battleground, suburban congressional districts because they sided with the NRA at the expense of reducing gun violence in their communities. We endorsed over 300 candidates in 34 states, up and down the ballot. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Captain Mark Kelly crisscrossed the country, traveling to 27 districts to campaign with gun safety candidates and talk with voters about electing leaders committed to fighting for stronger gun safety laws. Finally, through the Our Lives Our Vote initiative, Giffords helped register more than 60,000 young people to vote.

THE LANDSCAPE

Times have changed. The NRA has reached record levels of unpopularity, the campaign-season advertising in support of gun law reform has dramatically increased since the previous cycle, and Democratic candidates have embraced gun safety in a way never before seen.

NRA Approval Ratings Have Hit Rock Bottom. The Navigator Research project (a coalition of progressive pollsters) finds the NRA decline in favorability has NOT rebounded since Parkland. The NRA has become a major net-negative for those associated. They are now -17 points (34-53). According to the report, “even as recently as 2017, public polling showed more were favorable of the NRA than not. But, in the wake of the February 2018 shooting at Parkland high school, opinions on the NRA suddenly and dramatically shifted negatively—and it’s staying underwater. In three separate Navigator polls since April, the NRA has been more unpopular than popular.”

Candidates Running Away from the NRA’s Favored Positions. The Boston Globe reported that, “Already vulnerable Republicans in swing districts have distanced themselves from the National Rifle Association, downplaying their top ratings that long were a political boon. And the NRA has drastically cut back political spending this cycle, leaving openings for newly energized gun control groups to run emotional ads attacking Republicans over gun violence.”

Democratic Candidates Are Embracing Reform Like Never Before. According to a report and analysis by Reuters, “38 of the 59 Democrats backed by the party’s ‘Red-to-Blue’ campaign—targeting vulnerable Republican districts—have supported gun safety in their official platforms. At this point in the 2016 election cycle, only four of 36 Red-to-Blue candidates backed stronger gun laws in their platforms.”

Data Shows Advertising Supports Gun Safety Reforms. According to new analysis of Kantar Media/CMAG data, “ads promoting stricter gun regulations have aired 102,636 times across the country this year—a 22-fold increase from four years ago, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of Kantar Media/CMAG data.”

PAID AD STRATEGY

The Giffords PAC strategy used new, creative approaches to put this issue front-and-center in critically-important, suburban battleground districts critical to fueling Democratic victories in the midterms.

The Giffords PAC ads leaned heavily on the fear of gun violence within suburban communities—especially the fears of mass shootings at schools and other public venues. These ads focused on the victims of these tragedies and on all those who fear they could be next. The ads held the NRA and Republicans in Congress responsible for consistently obstructing reform to our gun laws that would stop dangerous people from getting their hands on weapons.

Much like drug companies or Wall Street banks, voters now see the NRA as a corrupting influence on the Republicans in Congress and want to hold Republicans accountable for siding with the NRA at the expense of public safety. Giffords PAC deployed a blend of broadcast, cable, radio, and digital advertising to persuasively make this case.

THE RACES

VIRGINIA-10 (Congresswoman Barbara Comstock)
The first race Giffords PAC advertised in was suburban Northern Virginia to defeat incumbent Congresswoman Barbara Comstock, who won reelection in 2016 by 6 points (53%-47%) despite Hillary Clinton winning her district by 10 points (52%-42%). This Northern Virginia district is the backyard of the NRA’s headquarters and the first ad featured Gabby Giffords herself, directly taking on the NRA and Comstock. The second ad told the full story of how Comstock stood with the NRA while opposing commonsense reforms to our gun laws that reduce gun violence.

The over $1 million dollar ad campaign ran on cable television systems in Loudoun and parts of Fairfax and included a $100,000 digital campaign that drove 7 million impressions on the most persuadable voters, including 5.6 million on women. Both the cable shows and the digital targets focused on independent voters, with a strong emphasis on reaching female voters.

Polling data, taken before and after the ad campaign for the survey, reveal that Giffords PAC helped diminish Comstock’s favorability by as much as 10 points while contributing to Jennifer Wexton expanding her lead by at least 3 points. The findings make clear that two-thirds of voters consider guns a top issue for this election and the Giffords PAC made them more knowledgeable about Comstock’s position on guns and the NRA.

  • In a congressional district where Comstock has won tough races in the past, her favorability dropped from 42 percent favorable/42 percent unfavorable in August to 40 percent/50 percent.
  • Voters are now 9 points more likely to say it is “definitely true” that Comstock has an A rating from the NRA (61% total “true”) and that Comstock has taken money from the NRA (61% total “true”).
  • Two-thirds of voters (69%) consider “guns” a major issue when deciding whom to vote for this November, trailing only healthcare at 76%. Gun issues are more important to voters than a candidate’s position on Trump, taxes, women’s rights, or the environment.

COLORADO-06 (Congressman Mike Coffman)
In this battleground, suburban Denver district, Congressman Mike Coffman has repeatedly avoided defeat, including winning by 8 points (51%-43%) in 2016 while Hillary Clinton won by nearly 9 points (50%-41%). Giffords PAC ran extended-length ad buys designed to make clear that Congressman Mike Coffman has done nothing to stop the gun violence that has plagued schools and other public venues in this suburban community. Instead, Coffman has stood with the NRA—taking more money from them than any Member of Congress from Colorado.

One powerful, gut-wrenching ad broadcast every American parent’s worst nightmare of a text messaging conversation between a parent and their child during an active shooter situation. The ad makes clear that tragedies like this could be prevented if Congressman Mike Coffman and others like him would stand up to the NRA.

The second ad emphasized that Congressman Mike Coffman has been a “yes man” for the NRA—taking their money but voting against background checks and choosing to weaken our gun laws. The ad ends by reminding voters how Coffman has changed: “He’s not our Mike Coffman anymore, he’s theirs.”

The $2 million ad campaign included both ads running for one month—from September 25 through October 22—on both broadcast and cable television in Denver, along with digital pre-roll.

Polling data show CO-06 voters were 10 points more likely to know Coffman received an A rating from the NRA and nine points more likely to know Coffman received more money from the NRA than any other Colorado member of Congress after the ad campaign. And that favorability toward the NRA went from -2 before the ads (44% favorable/46% unfavorable) to -12 (39% favorable/51% unfavorable) after the ads.

MINNESOTA-02 (Congressman Jason Lewis)
In the upper Midwestern district comprised of Minneapolis suburbs, Giffords PAC ran a campaign for supporters of gun rights but opponents of gun violence. The $1.3 million ad campaign ran from September 21 through October 11 on broadcast, cable, and digital platforms in the Minneapolis media market.

Both ads highlighted how Congressman Jason Lewis has sided with the corporate gun lobby at the expense of public safety. One ad featured a powerful testimonial featuring Burnsville, Minnesota resident Bob Mokos, a former Air Force pilot, NRA sharpshooter, and a gun owner. The second adcontrasted Washington politician Jason Lewis’s record of opposing background checks with Angie Craig’s support for the Second Amendment and commonsense gun laws.

Surveys show that “guns” represent a major issue—second only to healthcare—among voters in MN-02, with nearly two-thirds of voters (65%) considering it important. The survey also indicates that after the Giffords ad campaign on guns, incumbent Jason Lewis now trails challenger Angie Craig by 9 points after beating her by 2 points in 2016—an 11-point swing.

  • Craig expanded her lead with women (+9 in vote share since September), particularly non-college women (+16), independents (+9), and moderates (+17), all of whom were Giffords PAC ad campaign targets.
  • Voters’ awareness of Lewis’s specific positions on guns featured in Giffords PAC’s advertising grew during the ad campaign. Voters were 14 points more likely to report seeing or hearing about Lewis’s position on guns after the ad campaign.
  • As they learned the facts about Lewis’s record on guns, voters are now less favorable toward Lewis. In August, 42% were unfavorable of Lewis. Now, 47% are unfavorable of Lewis (+5 unfav).

TEXAS-07 (Congress John Culberson)
Giffords PAC even advertised against a Republican Member of Congress in Houston, Texas—Congressman John Culberson. The$1.1 million ad campaign on broadcast, cable, and digital ran for more than three weeks and focused on women. The ads showed Culberson siding with the NRA while Houston kids suffer through lockdowns and active shooter drills. The powerful ad taps into older generations’ memories of Cold War Era-duck and cover drills and compares that to the fear kids and parents face today because Culberson has been a yes man for the NRA.

PPP polling conducted before and after the ad aired on television shows Culberson’s net job approval numbers dropped five points and that the NRA’s favorability dropped eight points after Giffords PAC’s ad aired. 18-45-year-olds were among the most likely to see and hear more about Culberson on guns (+22 after ads aired) and to swing on favorability toward the NRA (-4 before ad to -19 after ad).

FLORIDA 
In the backyard of the Parkland shooting, Giffords PAC made several strategic investments, totaling over $1 million.

FL-SEN. Giffords PAC made a $600,000 investment in two direct-mailer pieces to nearly 650,000 Florida voters highlighting Rick Scott’s ties to the NRA and his opposition to reducing gun violence and reforming gun laws. The first mailer showed voters how close Scott’s positions are to the NRA’s positions, including the fact that Scott signed more NRA-supported laws than any governor in Florida history. Thesecond mailer reminded people of Scott’s NRA ties and contrasts them with Senator Bill Nelson’s strong stance as a champion of commonsense gun safety reforms. In the aftermath of Parkland, earlier in the election cycle, Giffords ran a $200,000 television ad buy about Governor Rick Scott repeatedly siding with the gun lobby over public safety.

FL-25.  Giffords PAC invested $200,000 in a radio advertising campaign against Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart for his record taking money from the National Rifle Association (NRA) while voting for weaker gun laws. Congressman Mario Diaz-Balart is a proud recipient of numerous A ratings from the NRA over his political career. After the horrific school shooting in Parkland earlier this year, Diaz-Balart refused to support critical commonsense gun safety laws to help prevent future senseless tragedies. He’s taken more money from the NRA than any other Florida Member of Congress. Listen to the ad.

CANDIDATE ENDORSEMENTS

In the 2018 cycle, Giffords endorsed over 300 candidates in 34 states, up and down the ballot.  Our endorsements were sought by senators, incumbent Congress members, and state legislators. For the first time, Giffords endorsed candidates in sheriff’s races in Florida and North Carolina. But our main focus was on working towards a gun safety majority in the US House of Representatives. In House races, Giffords endorsed and provided important candidates services in top races around the country. Throughout the course of this cycle, the Giffords campaign services team has provided message guidance and worked with campaigns to build thoughtful positions on gun violence prevention.

View Giffords Endorsements:

VOTE SAVE LIVES TOUR

In the final months of the 2018 campaign, Gabby and Mark launched the “Vote Save Lives” tour. Traveling to college campuses and communities to support candidates running on gun safety in battleground states and districts, Giffords joined with student activists, gun violence survivors, and community leaders for community conversations, get-out-the-vote efforts, and other events to elevate gun safety as a voting issue. The effort included collaborations with March for Our Lives, NextGen, and other organizations, and engaged thousands of voters in key states and districts.

Tour Stops:

  • Las Vegas, Nevada: The Vote Save Lives tour kicked off on October 2 at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, one day after the anniversary of the Las Vegas massacre, the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. While in Las Vegas, Gabby and Mark hosted a roundtable discussion with gun violence survivors, students, and community members. Following the roundtable, Gabby and Mark joined student organizers and NextGen America President Tom Steyer for an “Our Lives Our Vote” canvass kickoff, to register students to vote ahead of the midterm elections.
  • Irvine, California: On October 13, Gabby and Mark gathered on the UC-Irvine campus withstudent advocates, actor and activist Bradley Whitford, and other community leaders to host a Get-Out-the-Vote gathering. The next day, Gabby and Mark campaigned for three of California’s Giffords-backed candidates: Harley Rouda, Mike Levin, and Katie Kill.
  • Seattle, Washington: Gabby and Mark were a part of Get-Out-the-Vote rally with Rep. Adam Smith, CEO of the Alliance for Gun Responsibility Renée Hopkins, and Citizen Sponsor of Initiative 1639 Paul Kramer at Rainier Beach Community Center. They highlighted the continued leadership and need to reelect Rep. Adam Smith to Congress and endorsed Washington Ballot Initiative 1639, a ballot measure designed to strengthen the state’s gun laws.
  • Portland, Oregon: On October 19th, Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and joined Governor Kate Brown and local gun violence prevention leaders to speak about the importance of common sense gun reform and the Oregon Governor’s race. Speakers included Gov. Brown, Doreen Dodgen-Magee, Everytown Survivor Fellow, and Natalie Khalil, member of Oregon Youth for Gun Reform.
  • Chicago, Illinois: On October 18, Giffords attended a press conference to announce a joint endorsement with GPAC of JB Pritzker for Governor. Robin Lloyd, government affairs director at Giffords, joined Kathleen Sances of GPAC, local gun violence prevention activists, Giffords Courage Fellows, and JB Pritzker for a press conference announcing the Giffords and GPAC joint endorsement of JB Pritzker for governor of Illinois.
     
  • Tucson, Arizona: On October 21, Gabby and Mark hosted a Get-Out-the-Vote rally with Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick, Democratic candidate for Arizona governor David Garcia, Democratic candidate for Arizona Attorney General January Contreras, State Rep. Kirsten Engel, President of EMILY’s List Stephanie Schriock, Giffords Coalition member Pat Maisch, and Jacob Martinez of March For Our Lives Arizona.
     
  • Orlando, Florida: Mark Kelly held a rally with Florida Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy,marking the first day of early voting in the state. Murphy, a Giffords-backed candidate, is running for reelection in the seventh congressional district on a platform that includes strengthening our nation’s gun safety laws.
     
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota: Gabby and Mark joined Comedy Central host Jordan Klepper and students from March for Our Lives for a Get-Out-the-Vote town hall on the University of Minnesota campus.
  • Houston, Texas: On November 2, Giffords teamed up with student activists from March for Our Lives and journalist Liz Plank to hold a Get-Out-the-Vote Town Hall at the University of Houston.

The next day, Gabby and Mark participated in a canvass kickoff event with Giffords-endorsed candidate Lizzie Pannill Fletcher.

Coverage Highlights:

  • Huffington PostA Leading Gun Safety Group Is Heading To Key Districts Before The Midterms
  • Las Vegas Sun: Gabby Giffords Brings Gun Violence Survivors Together in Las Vegas to Discuss Action
  • Las Vegas-Review Journal: Gabby Giffords Talks with Gun Violence Survivors at UNLV
  • Associated Press: Somber Tributes, Dimmed Lights on Vegas Shooting Anniversary
  • Mother Jones: A Year After the Las Vegas Shooting, Gun Control Advocates Are Getting Out the Vote in Nevada
  • San Diego Union-Tribune: Giffords Campaigns for Levin on Gun Violence Issues
  • Times of San Diego: Gabby Giffords at Levin Rally in Solana Beach: ‘These Are Scary Times’
  • The Signal: Former Congresswoman visits Santa Clairta Valley
  • SeattlePi: Washington Gun Safety Initiative Will ‘Impact Other Places’ — Giffords, Kelly
  • KATU: Gabby Giffords ask Voters to Support Brown at Gun Reform Rally
  • KIRO 7 News Staff: Gun Safety Initiative Supporters Launch Final Push as Ballots Go Out
  • WESH: Husband of Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords Rallies for Stephanie Murphy at UCF
  • Florida Politics: Mark Kelly Proclaims Progress in Gun Law Campaign
  • News4Tucson: Sinema, Giffords, Kelly Push Get-Out-the-Vote Message in Tucson
  • StarTribune: Gabby Giffords, Mark Kelly Stump for Gun Control, Democrats in Minneapolis
  • Minnesota Daily: Political Candidates, Activists Discuss Gun Control
  • Kare11: Giffords Campaigns for Gun Law Reforms in Minnesota
  • ABC News: Gun Control Advocates Take Their Campaign to the State with more Registered Guns that any in the US
  • Houston Chronicle: Giffords, Student Activists tell Houston to Back Midterm Candidates who Support Gun Control

GIFFORDS VETERANS TOUR

Recognizing that military veterans make both great candidates and credible, compelling advocates for gun safety laws, Giffords worked hard to support several veteran gun safety advocates in their campaigns for Congress. The Giffords Veterans Tour was the cornerstone of this effort. Partnering with the veterans’ political advocacy group VoteVets, US Navy combat veteran Captain Mark Kelly toured the country supporting veteran candidates. During discussions and earned media events, students, advocates, and voters discussed the ways gun violence is impacting their community, the lack of congressional action to address the nation’s growing gun violence epidemic, and what must be done to save lives. In 2016 alone, 155,000 people were shot, almost 39,000 fatally. The perspective of veterans, who are our nation’s foremost experts on guns, is critical in the gun safety debate. They know what guns can do in the hands of trained, responsible people, and how they can be used in the hands of those who want to do harm to themselves or others.

Tour Stops:

  • NJ-11 (Mikie Sherrill): On September 7 at the American Legion Post 238 in Woodland Park, NJ, Gabby, Mark, and VoteVets Vice Chairman Dan Helmer participated in a forum with Mikie Sherrill, the Democratic candidate for Congress in New Jersey’s 11th district. Local leaders discussed their personal experiences with gun violence, and Mark, Mikie, and Gabby discussed the need for stronger federal gun laws while urging participants to vote.
  • PA-06 (Chrissy Houlahan): On September 7 at the New Life In Christ Fellowship in Coatesville, PA, Gabby, Mark, and VoteVets Vice Chairman Dan Helmer participated in a roundtable discussion with Chrissy Houlahan, the Democratic candidate for Congress in Pennsylvania’s Sixth Congressional District. The roundtable participants took turns discussing their experiences with gun violence. Mark and Chrissy addressed the need for stronger federal gun laws after Gabby gave a speech urging the roundtable to vote.
  • PA-17 (Conor Lamb): On September 9 at the Heidelberg Volunteer Fire Hall in Heidelberg, PA, Mark and VoteVets Vice Chairman Dan Helmer participated in a forum with Conor Lamb, the Democratic candidate for Congress in Pennsylvania’s 17th Congressional District. Twelve people helped lead the panel, which discussed the need for stronger gun safety laws and rebuked the Trump administration’s proposal to arm teachers.
  • KY-06 (Amy McGrath): On September 9, Mark held a roundtable with Amy McGrath, who is running in Kentucky’s Sixth Congressional District. During the event, which was held at American Legion Post 8, they joined a range of community members to discuss how America’s gun violence is impacting veteran suicides.
  • CO-06 (Jason Crow): On September 20 at the Arapahoe Library in Littleton, Colorado, Gabby, Mark, and Dan Helmer joined Jason Crow for a gun safety rally. Members of the community and survivors also participated in the event.
  • CA-39 (Gil Cisneros): On September 23, Mark and Dan Helmer hosted a roundtable discussion in Diamond Bar, California, with Gil Cisneros. They were joined by representatives from Cisneros’s Veterans Steering Committee, the Brady Campaign, and Moms Demand Action. After the roundtable, Mark and Gil spokes to volunteers and rallied supporters ahead of a canvass event.
  • VA-02 (Elaine Luria): On September 29 at the Mary Pretlow Library in Norfolk, VA, Mark and Dan Helmer participated in a roundtable discussion with Elaine Luria, the Democratic candidate in Virginia’s Second Congressional District. They joined students, advocates, and other community members to discuss the ways gun violence is impacting the area and the lack of congressional action to address the nation’s growing gun violence epidemic.

Coverage Highlights:

  • McClatchyProgressive Vets, Gun Control Advocates Join Forces on the Campaign Trail
  • Insider NJ: Giffords and Astronaut Husband Land at Sherrill’s Side in CD11
  • NorthJersey.com: Midterm 2018: Mikie Sherrill, Gabrielle Giffords Event Highlights Gun Rights in Campaigns
  • NJTV: 11th Congressional District Race Heats Up
  • Wall Street Journal: Four States Could Swing the House
  • Daily Local: Giffords, Houlahan Call for Gun Reform
  • Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Gun Safety Tour Supporting Veterans for Congress Stops in Heidelberg
  • Newsy: Veteran Candidates Look to Shore Up Voters on Gun Issues
  • Colorado Sun: The Anti-gun Violence Giffords PAC is pouring $1.5 million-plus to Unseat Mike Coffman
  • Denverite: Jason Crow wants Gun Reform to Become a Key Issue in the Uber-competitive CD6
  • KUNC: Congressional Race in Colorado Heats Up as National Gun Groups Spend Big
  • Phoenixville Patch: Gabby Giffords Speaking In Chester County On Gun Violence
  • NBC News: In California Congressional Race, Latino Democrat Gil Cisneros Touts ‘opportunity’ as his Theme
  • WKYTRetired Astronaut Campaigns for Amy McGrath

OUR LIVES OUR VOT

Giffords, joined by NextGen America, Acronym, and Everytown, launched Our Lives Our Vote, a nationwide drive to register young voters ahead of the 2018 midterm around the need for gun reform. The campaign registered over 60,000 18-and-19-year olds to vote by mailing voter registration forms to newly eligible voters immediately after their 18th birthdays, targeting young people with online voter registration ads online, and registering young voters face-to-face in their communities through partnerships with local organizations.

Coverage Highlights:

  • Politico: Tom Steyer, Gun Safety Groups Plan Voter Registration Drive for High School Students
  • Reuters: Teen Birthday Drive Targets Pro-gun Lawmakers
  • The Daily Cardinal: Our Lives, Our Vote Initiative Registers 50,000 Young Americans in Effort to Harness the ‘Youth Vote’
  • Tucson Weekly: NextGen Arizona Registers 21,051 Young Voters
  • Mother Jones: Gun Control Groups Seek Revenge Against Rick Scott
  • The Guardian: Arizona Students’ Stand on Gun Control Switches to Voter Registration

THE LAST LOCKDOWN

On Saturday, September 15, Giffords teamed up with Change the Ref, the National School Walk Out, and 50 Miles More to host events urging voters to elect leaders committed to protecting kids from gun violence. The groups brought 3D-printed statues—The Last Lockdown Statue—to ten congressional districts where elected officials have long prioritized the gun lobby’s agenda over taking action to reduce gun violence and protect public safety.

  • FL-22: Organizers unveiled the statue and hosted a voter registration drive for students aged 16–18. Local elected leaders and Diane Wolk-Rogers, a Marjory Stoneman Douglas teacher, spoke during the press conference portion of the drive.
  • NV-03: Karl Catarata, a March for Our Lives Las Vegas leader, Organizing for America community organizer, and UNLV student, organized a voter registration drive and press conference in conjunction with the statue unveiling at the Center for Social Justice on the UNLV campus. In Southern Nevada, the gun safety movement is fighting to keep Nevada’s 3rd and 4th Congressional Districts in the hands of gun violence prevention champions. Susie Lee is running to fill the seat vacated by Congresswoman Jacky Rosen, who is running for the US Senate, and Steve Horsford is running to return to Congress in the seat currently held by retiring Representative Ruben Kihuen. Lee, Rosen, and Horsford all support important efforts like passing laws to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers and closing loopholes in our background check system.
  • CO-6: Youth organizer Krista Choate hosted a voter registration drive during the unveiling of the Last Lackdown statue. Krista’s representative, Congressman Mike Coffman, has positioned himself against any form of gun violence prevention. Rep. Coffman has the enthusiastic backing of the NRA for his support of concealed carry reciprocity and the loosening of restrictions on interstate gun sales. Congressman Coffman is running for re-election against gun safety champion Jason Crow.
  • MN-03:  Student activist and Giffords Courage Fellow Sydney Lewis has been an outspoken advocate for gun violence prevention in the state of Minnesota through the Eden Prairie chapter of Students Demand Action. To accompany the unveiling of The Last Lockdown Statue, Sydney organized a voter registration drive. The event featured a rally portion with local gun safety champion candidates and student activists. Congressman Erik Paulsen, who represents Minneapolis, has received $20,000 from the NRA and has been a barrier to congressional efforts to take action to save lives. Dean Phillips has been running a strong campaign in the suburbs of the Twin Cities. When he gets elected to Congress, Dean Phillips will be a gun safety champion who fights to enact universal background checks, put an end to the gun show loophole, and keep people on the no-fly list from buying guns.
  • CA-45: Local youth organizer Skye Wagoner organized a voter registration drive and statue unveiling in Irvine, CA. The first portion of the event took place in CA-48, in front of Dana Rohrabacher’s office in Huntington Beach where 22 desks, including the statue, were on display to symbolize the 22 children shot in America each day. The event will then move to the office of Congresswoman Mimi Walters for a voter registration drive and art installation. Lastly, the event moved to the office of CA-42 Representative Ken Calvert, a congressman who has long accepted NRA contributions.
  • WI-01: Giffords Courage Fellow and 50 Miles More Executive Director Katie Eder and 50 Miles More Outreach Director Tatiana Washington hosted The Last Lockdown statue unveiling and voter registration drive in Milwaukee to remind the community that voting in the midterms can save lives.
  • TX-07: Giffords Courage Fellow Megan McGuire and local youth organizer Marcel McClinton from Orange Generation unveiled The Last Lockdown statue in front of Houston City Hall. In addition to hosting a voter registration drive, Megan and Marcel were joined by additional speakers for a press conference, where they called on voters to elect new leaders dedicated to keeping kids safe from gun violence. The Texas Seventh District is currently represented by Rep. John Culberson, a champion of NRA-backed policies.
  • FL-16: Local Sarasota youth organizer Hailey Landry unveiled The Last Lockdown statue and hosted a voter registration drive and press conference about gun violence in her community. Student speakers, teachers, and local leaders were invited to speak. Congressman Vern Buchanan has proven himself an ineffective leader in Congress since being elected. Buchanan has repeatedly taken NRA money and has done the gun lobby’s bidding. This year, candidate David Shapiro, a local businessman, has pledged to be a gun safety champion.
  • WA-05: Youth organizer Brooke Bennett hosted The Last Lockdown statue unveiling to bring attention to the gun violence epidemic in our country. Spokane students and teachers were invited to discuss the impact of gun violence in Spokane and organizers registered voters. Spokane is represented by Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a member of Republican leadership and a barrier to effective gun safety legislation. Vying to replace McMorris Rodgers is Lisa Brown, former Chancellor of Washington State Spokane and a supporter of banning bump stucks, closing background check loopholes, and addressing gun violence as a public health crisis.
  • PA-05 + PA-06: Youth organizers Sophia Qureshi and Julia Spoor organized a voter registration drive at Philadelphia Museum of Art that featured The Last Lockdown statue. Katie Kendrick, a junior at the George school and gun violence survivor, and Saira Salyani, chair of High School Democrats of Pennsylvania, spoke at the event.

Coverage Highlights:

  • Washington Post‘You Should Feel Unsettled When Viewing These.’ Gun-control Statues Aim to Evoke Students’ Terror During Lockdowns
  • USA TodayChild Hides Under Desk to Prepare for Shooting in Sculpture from Parkland Victim’s Dad
  • CNN‘Last Lockdown’ Sculpture is a Parkland Father’s Plea to Voters
  • HuffPost: Father of Parkland Shooting Victim Sculpts Haunting Image of Child Hiding Under Desk
  • Fox News: ‘Last Lockdown’ Statues Part of Gun-control Group’s Plan to Change Minds in Pro-gun Districts
  • MSNBC: Last Lockdown Statues on MSNBC Live with Velshi & Ruhle
  • Fortune: This Father Lost His Son in Parkland. Now He Wants America to Vote the NRA’s Influence Out of Office
  • Adweek: Gun Control Activists Hope This Startling Statue Will Help Drive Change on Election Day
  • WTHR: “Last Lockdown” Statues Deployed to Raise Awareness of Gun Control
  • WTVA: “Last Lockdown” Sculpture is a Parkland Father’s Plea to Voters
  • NBC4i Gun Control Advocates Create ‘The Last Lockdown’ Statue Series
  • KYW: Philadelphia City Hall Hosts Pop-up Statue Addressing Gun Violence in Schools
  • Spokesman-Review: ‘Last Lockdown’ Statues Unveiled in Spokane, One of 10 in cities Around Country
  • KTNV: Local Students Unveil Statue, Plan to Address Shootings and Guns in School
  • WPVI: Chilling Anti-gun Violence Statues Make Debut this Weekend