Press Release

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords Statement on the House of Representatives Introducing a Bipartisan Background Checks Bill on Anniversary of Tucson Shooting

January 8, 2019 — Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, co-founder with her husband, Captain Mark Kelly, of the gun violence prevention organization Giffords, reacted to the introduction of H.R. 8 – the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 in the House of Representatives on the anniversary of the Tucson shooting. Giffords joined with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Chairman Mike Thompson at the U.S. Capitol Building today to announce the legislation. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) also introduced a companion bill in the Senate today.

Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords:

“Just a few weeks ago, we learned that in the past year nearly 40,000 people died from gun violence. Every day more than 100 Americans die from a gunshot. These deaths are a sad reminder that for too long too many politicians ignored this crisis, siding with special interests over the public’s safety.

“Gun violence has resulted in tragedy in countless communities – including my own. Eight years ago today a gunman opened fire in Tucson killing six, injuring twelve, and leaving me partially paralyzed. I can’t get back what I had, and the families of those killed experienced loss deeper still. But I can fight to protect others.

“When the days were darkest, when it looked like the gun lobby’s money and influence would forever silence any debate in Washington about stronger gun laws, courage shone through. Courage embodied by relentless advocates and resilient survivors who never lost sight of the change just over the horizon. They knew the power of the gun lobby could be broken by the power of the people.

“Last year millions of Americans spoke up, marched, and voted for new leaders who would make a safer future for all families a priority. Now, for the first time in decades, Democrats and Republicans in the House of Representatives are coming together to take action. Congress will be silent no more. Regardless of party, we must fight to stop this heartbreaking public safety threat from becoming a new normal, and we must do it together.

“The introduction of the bipartisan background checks bill in the House today marks a critical first step toward strengthening America’s gun laws and making our country a better place to live, work, study, worship and play. When lives are at stake, we make progress by never giving up. I stand ready to do everything in my power to get bipartisan universal background checks across the finish line.”

Last November millions of Americans, angered by a Congress that refused to address our nation’s gun violence crisis, elected a new majority to the House of Representatives that pledged action. As the new Congress has begun to consider legislation, Giffords is pushing for immediate progress on two key gun safety priorities: passing universal background checks and funding Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) research into the country’s epidemic of gun violence. Other Giffords policy priorities that should become the subject of bills, hearings, and action can be found in a policy memo for the 116th Congress.

RELATED RESOURCES ABOUT UNIVERSAL BACKGROUND CHECKS

  • Resource Page: Universal Background Checks: This Giffords Law Center webpage is a clearinghouse of data and policy analysis on universal background checks.

  • Fact Sheet: Universal Background Checks: This one-page factsheet from Giffords Law Center details existing loopholes in federal background check laws.

  • Fact Sheet: H.R. 8: This one-page factsheet from Giffords details how the universal background checks bill introduced today will close those existing loopholes.

RELATED RESOURCES ABOUT FUNDING CDC RESEARCH

  • Coalition News: Giffords Partnership with Medical, Health Groups: Giffords joined with 14 leading medical and health groups in a new effort, expected to bring on more organizations in the coming year, to urge Congress to address America’s gun violence crisis.

  • Fact Sheet: Researching Gun Violence: This fact sheet explains how Congress forced the CDC to stop researching gun violence as a public health problem.

Experts are available for comment.