Press Release

Giffords Endorses Leslie Cockburn, Abigail Spanberger, and Jennifer Wexton for Congress in Virginia

The endorsement comes as part of Giffords’ #VoteCourage Campaign to elect gun reform candidates nationwide

July 25, 2018 — Giffords, the gun safety organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Captain Mark Kelly, announced its endorsement of Leslie Cockburn in Virginia’s fifth districtAbigail Spanberger in Virginia’s seventh congressional district, and Jennifer Wexton in Virginia’s 10th district.

“Politicians bought and paid for by the gun lobby to defend the firearms industry can no longer get away with saying thoughts and prayers and then staying silent. They can no longer say acts of violence are acts of nature, beyond our control. They are not, and the American people know it. They’re tired of politicians who claim to represent them failing to take action to keep them safe. This year, voters are demanding leaders with the courage to fight for a nation where gun violence is not a daily problem,” said former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, co-founder of Giffords. “Voters are ready to elect leaders, like Leslie Cockburn, Abigail Spanberger, and Jennifer Wexton, who will always put protecting the safety of our communities first, not themselves, and certainly not the gun lobby. These candidates have what it takes to take on the biggest challenges and fight for solutions that will keep our schools, streets, churches and communities safe. Giffords is proud to endorse them for Congress because they have the courage stand up to the corporate gun lobby and they’ll never stop working to make Virginia’s communities safer.”

  • Leslie Cockburn is an experienced investigative journalist who has witnessed the consequences of gun violence firsthand around the world. Having grown up in a gun-owning family, she also understands that Second Amendment rights can be balanced with commonsense policies to reduce gun violence, such as banning bump stocks and large capacity magazines. Leslie is running for Congress in order to stand up to Washington special interests, and she won’t shy away from a fight with the gun lobby.

  • A former operations officer in the CIA, Abigail Spanberger has dedicated her life to courageously serving our country. She knows that saving lives from gun violence is an American issue, not a partisan one. Abigail wants to keep our law enforcement and children safe, which is why she supports extreme risk protection orders and requiring background checks for all gun purchases.

  • State Senator Jennifer Wexton has built a courageous record of supporting stronger guns laws during her four years in Richmond. Time and time again, she has stood up to the gun lobby by casting votes in favor of banning bump stocks, requiring background checks for all guns purchases, and prohibiting domestic abusers and stalkers from acquiring firearms. Jennifer is running against incumbent Barbara Comstock, who consistently prioritizes the bottom line of corporate gun manufacturers over the safety of Virginia families.

Giffords’ #VoteCourage campaign is aimed at electing gun safety advocates to Congress and defeating politicians who have historically worked against gun reform, or done nothing at all to prevent gun violence. The candidates endorsed by Giffords today are running to defeat politicians who have historically worked against gun reform.

  • Virginia already has some of the weakest gun laws in the nation. Leslie Cockburn’s opponent, Denver Riggleman, has previously called for removing all restrictions on concealed carry, thereby endangering Virginia communities and putting lives at risk. Riggleman has yet to support the popular, commonsense gun laws that could make Virginia safer.

  • Abigail Spanberger’s opponent, Congressman Dave Brat, has eagerly done the gun lobby’s bidding during his four years in Congress. Brat’s voting record is as poor as his rhetoric. He insists that gun violence is inevitable and refuses to support commonsense gun safety measures, at the expense of the safety of our children. This has led to Brat supporting concealed carry reciprocity and loosening restrictions on firearms sales to individuals with dangerous mental illnesses.

  • After Parkland, Jennifer Wexton’s opponent, Congresswoman Barbara Comstock, one of the top recipients of NRA money in Congress, failed to offer anything more than empty platitudes. Her thoughts and prayers are no substitute for concrete action on commonsense gun laws that would save lives. The corporate gun lobby may be happy with Comstock’s performance in Congress, but Virginia families deserve better.