Press Release

Week in Review: January 28 – February 1, 2019


For the first time in eight years, the House of Representatives will hold a hearing on gun violence

What is a major step forward for stronger gun violence prevention laws, the House judiciary committee announced this week a hearing on gun violence prevention. The first of it’s kind in eight years, the Preventing Gun Violence: A Call to Action hearing is a major step in the legislative branch taking a long overdue look at the impact of gun violence in America.

The hearing is scheduled for next Wednesday, February 6 at 10 a.m. Gun violence experts, including Giffords Law Center executive director Robyn Thomas, are expected to testify on the needs for tougher gun laws, including commonsense legislation like H.R. 8, The Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019.


Top Hits

Four officers shot, two suspects dead in Houston gun battle, officials say | Washington Post | Brittney Martin and Michael Brice-Saddler
Five Houston police officers were injured Monday as they tried to execute a drug-related search warrant, authorities said. Four of the officers were shot and one was hurt during the exchange of gunfire, which took place in a southeast Houston neighborhood. Two suspects were shot and killed by return gunfire from officers, Houston police said. Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo told reporters Monday evening that more than a dozen officers went to the home in the 7800 block of Harding Street, where a neighbor had reported that narcotics were being sold. “Immediately upon reaching the door, the officers came under fire from one or two suspects inside the house,” Acevedo said. Two of the wounded officers were in critical but stable condition, he said. The two other wounded officers are expected to make a full recovery but will remain hospitalized for observation.

In Iowa debut, Kamala Harris lays out vision of big government | Los Angeles Times | Melanie Mason
Kamala Harris, meeting Iowa voters face-to-face on Monday for the first time since becoming a presidential contender, laid out a progressive pitch centered on sweeping government initiatives on healthcare, climate change and middle-class tax cuts. Appearing at a televised CNN town hall at Drake University in Des Moines, Harris seemed at ease appealing to the Democratic base, including vowing never to vote for President Trump’s proposed border wall, which she called “a medieval vanity project.”…When one questioner, a pastor, asked about gun violence and its devastating effect on communities, Harris responded with a forceful call for “smart gun laws.” She criticized Congress for not passing stricter background check rules after a fellow lawmaker, Gabrielle Giffords, was shot, or after the massacre of children at Sandy Hook Elementary School. “Somebody should have required all of those members of Congress to go in a room … and look at the autopsy photograph of those babies,” Harris said. “And then you vote your conscience.”

NRA says 2015 Moscow trip wasn’t ‘official.’ Emails, photos reveal gun group’s role | ABC News | Pete Madden and Matthew Mosk

The National Rifle Association made its first public attempt this week to distance itself from any formal involvement in a now infamous trip to Moscow undertaken by a group of its high-ranking members, but internal NRA emails and photos posted on social media reviewed by ABC News appear to show the organization was significantly involved in planning it. Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat who has launched an investigation of the NRA and written a series of letters seeking “information and documentation” about the trip, disputed the NRA’s public attempt to distance itself from the trip. “It’s not credible for the NRA to claim that they played no official role in the 2015 Moscow trip,” Sen. Wyden told ABC News on Tuesday.

Democrats Are Newly Emboldened on Gun Control | The Atlantic | Dick Polman
In July 2001, at a meeting in Indianapolis, national Democratic chairman Terry McAuliffe told party brethren that gun control was an issue they were wise to avoid. Nobody in the ballroom challenged him. The consensus at the time was that Democrats had lost the House seven years earlier, when Newt Gingrich’s GOP picked up 54 seats, because President Bill Clinton had signed a ban on the sale of assault weapons. And in 2001, many Democrats believed that Al Gore had lost the recent presidential race because southern white males had tagged him as a gun controller.

Under the Radar

Toxic Masculinity Is Killing Us | Vogue | Shannon Watts
Last week, a 21-year-old man, armed with a 9mm handgun and ammunition he had legally purchased just five days prior, walked into a SunTrust bank in Sebring, Florida. He then forced the five women inside to lie down on the lobby floor before shooting them each in the back of the head. Police—who are still trying to determine the gunman’s motive—say he wasn’t planning to rob the bank. It appears he had a different and straightforward motive—simply to kill women.

Trump Administration Eases Regulations on Gun Exports, Raising Concerns | New York Times | Nicholas Fandos
American gun manufacturers and their allies have pressed the federal government for years to change the way it regulates small-arms exports in an effort to ease restrictions, boost gun sales abroad and lower costs at home. The Trump administration appears to be on the brink of delivering. Officials from the State and Commerce Departments — the two entities tasked with regulating arms sales internationally — privately told Congress this week that they intend to finalize rules next week that would shuffle which agency oversees most consumer gun exports, relaxing export regulations and oversight, according to congressional aides familiar with the plans. Once Congress receives formal notification of the rule change, lawmakers will have 30 days to decide whether to intervene or let the new rules take effect.

We don’t know the motive for the Las Vegas shooting. But we do know why it happened. | Vox | German Lopez
The FBI on Tuesday announced that it had concluded its investigation into the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, in which 58 people were killed. But the conclusion left a big mystery open: Investigators could not figure out the shooter’s motive, meaning we may never know why he carried out the attack. It’s certainly unsatisfying and upsetting that we’ll never know why this happened. For the families and friends of the victims, it may rob them of closure. And for policymakers and law enforcement, not knowing the motive may make it harder to implement steps to prevent similar attacks in the future.


New York: New York passed several major gun control laws thanks to a Parkland victim’s parents

Linda Beigel Schulman knows that her son would be proud of her. Her son, Scott Beigel, was a geography teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, and he was one of those killed on February 14, 2018, as he tried protect students during the mass shooting. On Tuesday, nearing a year since her son’s murder, Beigel Schulman sat at a table next to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and held up a photo of Scott, confident that his death was not in vain. “I know that no matter how senseless and no matter how incomprehensible the Parkland massacre was (and) Scott’s murder was, when we pass the red flag law … Scott’s murder will now save lives,” she said.

Louisiana: Louisiana Shooter Confesses to Killing Five People With His Father’s Gun

A young man from Louisiana has confessed to killing his parents, his girlfriend, and two of her family members who had taken him in after he was kicked out of his house, authorities said Tuesday. Dakota Theriot, 21, told authorities he used a gun he stole from his father, Livingston Parish Sheriff Jason Ard said at a news conference. He said while Theriot was cooperating and had provided authorities with a lot of information about how the killings unfolded, they still haven’t determined exactly why the killings happened.

Pennsylvania: ‘We need more mayors like Peduto,’ says David Hogg at D.C. gun violence panel (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A day after a long and heated public hearing in Pittsburgh, the city’s proposed gun control regulations came before a friendlier audience Friday at the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Mayor Bill Peduto’s remarks were received warmly by some 40 members of the conference’s Mayors and Police Chiefs Task Force who aim to do what Congress and state legislatures haven’t – reduce gun violence. He described three controversial bills working their way through City Council. The bills would ban certain styles of firearms, ammunition and accessories within city limits and would allow courts to take guns from people who pose an “extreme risk.”