Washington DC — Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, co-founder of the gun violence prevention organization Giffords, released the following statement in advance of President Trump’s second State of the Union address, which is scheduled for delivery tonight:
“Gun violence has made no place in our country feel safe, driving fear in every community and every family. Rather than taking action to make our country safer, President Trump and his allies have prioritized protecting the gun lobby over protecting us. The consequences are clear—and they’re devastating.
“Since President Trump took office, more than 75,000 people in our country have been killed with a gun. During his administration, there have been nearly 700 mass shootings, including three of the 10 deadliest massacres in recent American history. At least 3,300 children under the age of 18 have been shot and killed. Over 1,000 women have been shot by intimate partners.
“This is the state of the American gun violence crisis.
“Our children learn to hide in closets during active shooter drills and parents live in fear that their kids won’t come home at the end of the school day. Families fall asleep to the sound of gunfire in their neighborhoods. People gather in houses of worship, nightclubs, movie theaters, shopping malls and find themselves mapping escape routes in their minds, just in case they hear the sound of gunfire and need to start running.
“This is the state of the American gun violence crisis.
“Last year, millions of Americans—inspired by our youngest generation—took to the streets to demand safer gun laws. Voters promised that if Congress didn’t take swift action to pass those laws, they’d elect new leaders who would. And they did. Just weeks into the new Congress, a background checks bill was introduced by a bipartisan group of lawmakers. But so far, we’ve heard nothing from the president. Rather than pushing for policy solutions to save lives from gun violence, he shut down the government for 35 days for a crisis of his own making.
“Mr. President, stop manufacturing your own crises and start acknowledging the gun violence crisis that’s impacting every family, causing heartbreak in every community, and devastating the nation.”
GUN VIOLENCE SURVIVORS JOIN LAWMAKERS FOR STATE OF THE UNION
- Laredo Morning Times: Teen Activist will join Himes at State of the Union
High school junior, gun safety activist, and Giffords Courage Fellow, Lane Murdock will join Rep. Jim Himes (CT-4) as his guest at the State of the Union Address. Last April, Murdock organized the National School Walkout against gun violence.
- Tampa Bay Times: Three fathers of Parkland victims will attend Trump’s State of the Union Fred Guttenberg will attend as the guest of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Guttenberg has been an outspoken advocate for gun safety after losing his daughter, Jamie, in the Feb. 14, 2018 shooting. Andy Pollack is the invited guest of Republican Sen. Rick Scott. Pollack worked closely with then-Gov. Scott to pass new gun restrictions and school safety legislation after his 18-year-old daughter, Meadow, was one of the 17 victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last year. Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) has invited Manny Oliver to hear President Donald Trump’s speech. Oliver started the non-profit organization Change the Ref in honor of his son, Joaquin, who was 17-years-old at the time of the shooting.
- CNN: Parkland Student is a guest of Democratic lawmaker for State of the Union
Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) invited Cameron Kaskey, a student who survived the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida last year to attend this year’s State of the Union as his guest.
- Houston Chronicle: Texans have points to make with State of the Union guests
Rhonda Hart, the mother of a Santa Fe High School shooting victim, will be the guest of Rep. Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX) at the State of the Union address.
- Aurora Sentinel:Colorado gun violence survivor will be State of the Union guest
Aurora Congressman Jason Crow’s guest to the State of the Union this week will be Mary Mabany, a Sudanese refugee who lost her son to gun violence last year.
- San Francisco Chronicle: Gun violence prevention advocate to State of the Union
Gunshot survivor, trauma surgeon and violence prevention advocate Dr. Joseph Sakran will be the guest of Congressman Mike Thompson, Chair of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force.
- Tallahassee Democrat: Father of yoga studio shooting victim, ‘hero’ invited to State of the Union as guests
Jeff Binkley, the father of Maura Binkley, who was killed in the November Hot Yoga shooting in Tallahassee, will be the guest of Congresswoman Lucy McBath. Congressman Al Lawson invited Joshua Quick, who helped stop the gunman at the yoga studio in Tallahassee.
SOLUTIONS THAT WILL SAVE LIVES
No one gun law will prevent every shooting, but policy solutions exist that will work to reduce gun violence and save lives. And the truth is, policy solutions that reduce gun violence are not controversial — they are broadly supported by Democrats and Republicans alike. If the Trump Administration is serious about taking action to reduce gun violence and make America safer, here are some of the policy solutions they should consider:
- Pass the Bipartisan Background Checks Act to make sure everyone gets a background check before they obtain a gun. Background checks aren’t controversial: Polling data consistently shows that over 90 percent of Americans support requiring background checks for all gun buyers.
- Require the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and our public health agencies to invest in preventing gun deaths and injuries — like we do for every other similar cause of death and injury. For 20 years, Congress has effectively banned the study of gun violence because of pressure from the gun lobby. Leaders have made clear that at this juncture, only a lack of funding constrains the CDC from performing this lifesaving research.
- Pass extreme risk laws to prevent people in crisis from accessing firearms, just like we do with domestic abusers. Extreme risk laws are proven to save lives by enabling family members or law enforcement to petition a court for a temporary order prohibiting a person from purchasing or possessing a firearm. A recent study found that for every 10-20 guns removed from an individual in crisis using a similar risk-based removal law in Connecticut, one suicide was prevented.
- Establish a federal firearms trafficking statute to stop the illegal trafficking of guns from states with weak laws to states with strong laws. Every year, tens of thousands of guns are diverted from legal to illegal markets through unregulated gun sales, straw purchases, gun traffickers who falsely claim their guns were lost or stolen, and corrupt gun dealers who sell guns off the books to traffickers.
- Stop domestic abusers from getting guns. Women are too often killed by abusers with firearms. And most mass shootings start as domestic violence incidents. A woman is five times more likely to die in a domestic violence situation if her abuser has access to a firearm. Congress should enact legislation to prevent abusive dating partners and convicted stalkers from purchasing and possessing firearms.
EXPERTS AVAILABLE FOR COMMENT
To arrange time to speak with a firearms policy or law enforcement expert, contact [email protected].