Giffords Law Center, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington Team Up to Uncover Gun Lobby Influence on Legislation in 9 States

GLC and CREW seek insight into NRA, other gun groups’ influence on state legislatures that considered policies like arming teachers and permitless carry

December 4, 2018Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed 35 public records requests today to uncover efforts from the National Rifle Association (NRA) and other special interests to use their influence to push legislation in nine states. The requests are for communications between gun lobby groups and state legislators in California, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Missouri, South Dakota, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming. The requests seek to provide insight into how and to what extent these gun groups are influencing state policy-makers to pass laws that eliminate training and background check requirements for concealed carry and force guns onto college campuses and into K-12 schools.

Giffords Law Center and CREW observed a seemingly coordinated attempt by gun lobby activists to promote gun laws in each of the states’ most recent legislative sessions. Their target states have strong sunshine laws that ensure transparency and provide access to communications between policymakers and outside interest groups. By submitting the requests, Giffords Law Center and CREW hope to understand the legislative dynamics in individual states, as well as the underlying coordination of pro-gun advocacy groups across the nation.

Statement from Adam Skaggs, chief counsel at Giffords Law Center

“Americans are fed up with the daily toll gun violence takes on our communities, and are standing with leaders with the courage to address this epidemic. Lawmakers have stepped up to pass legislation that is saving lives in many states, but gun-lobby groups promoting the gun industry’s bottom line are pushing dangerous laws across the country. Even though there is seemingly no safe place from gun violence these groups want people carrying concealed weapons with no training whatsoever and laws that allow guns everywhere – including schools that should be safe spaces for learning. We’re grateful to work with CREW to shine a bright light on how the gun lobby twists policy-makers’ arms to do their bidding, so the public can understand just what they are up to, and what is at stake.”

Statement from Anne Weismann, Chief FOIA Counsel at CREW

“We are proud to work with Giffords Law Center on these public records requests. The American public deserves to know how the NRA and other groups use their money and influence to court their elected officials. We have long known that the gun lobby and other special interests have been working diligently to undermine reform efforts supported by their constituents and these requests will give us a clear understanding of their aggressive campaigns.”

Giffords Law Center and CREW filed the records requests after identifying three pro-gun policy areas aggressively pushed by the corporate gun lobby:

  • Arming teachers and non-law-enforcement personnel in K-12 schools.
  • Guns-on-campus laws, which force colleges and universities to allow concealed guns on campus.
  • Permitless carry laws, which eliminate the need for a permit (or any training or demonstration of proficiency in use) to carry a concealed weapon in public.

CREW filed 55 similar public records requests with Arizona, Wisconsin, Colorado, Idaho, and Oregon in June of 2018.

State Legislators Giffords Law Center and CREW sent requests to include:

California

Florida

Indiana

Louisiana

Missouri

South Dakota

Washington

West Virginia

Wyoming

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