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Giffords Law Center Honors House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at Annual Anniversary Celebration

 Annual event recognizes courageous leaders, celebrates progress, and remembers those lost to gun violence 

June 14, 2019 Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence ’s Anniversary Dinner honored Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives, for her leadership in fighting gun violence. A member of the House for more than three decades, Speaker Pelosi has consistently been a champion for gun safety throughout her congressional tenure. She was confirmed as Speaker, for the second time, after the historic November 2018 midterm elections and immediately made gun safety legislation a priority. One of her most significant accomplishments in this arena to date is passing H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019  , with bipartisan support. It was the first major gun safety bill to pass the House of Representatives in decades.

Each year, Giffords Law Center’s Anniversary Dinner honors the exceptional efforts of individuals who have shown outstanding leadership in the gun violence prevention movement and pays tribute to the victims of the mass shooting at 101 California Street on July 1, 1993.

“More than a quarter century ago, the shooting at 101 California Street shook San Francisco to its core. The city, and country, was shocked by how easy it was for a dangerous man to shatter the calm of a typical workday with assault weapons he never should have had,” said Robyn Thomas, Giffords Law Center Executive Director. “The Bay Area community grieved together. Then we rallied together by vowing to fight for new laws that could reduce the horrific toll of gun violence. We would not be so strong today without the gun safety champions who inspire us. Champions like Speaker Pelosi, who proved to other lawmakers that Americans want leaders who will stand up to the gun lobby and push legislation that can protect communities. We are making remarkable progress in passing laws to save lives because legislators like Speaker Pelosi—whether in Washington DC, a statehouse, or city council—are standing up to say enough. Our movement is fueled by the energy of leaders like her and the memories of those who should still be with us. Together we are making a difference in the fight to save lives.”

Giffords Law Center is recognizing Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi with its 2019 Courageous Leadership Award. Law firm Jones Day will also receive the 2019 Richard W. Odgers Pro Bono Partner Award in recognition of their bold efforts to prepare for a Second Amendment fight at the Supreme Court, keep guns off campuses and out of schools, and secure funds for violence intervention programs in impacted communities.

Since its founding Giffords Law Center has grown into a leading voice in gun violence prevention research. Among the projects published by the Law Center this year is a new report, A Case Study in Hope: Lessons From Oakland’s Remarkable Reduction in Gun Violence  , which explores Oakland’s successful citywide gun violence reduction strategy. Every year, the Law Center releases its  Annual Gun Law Scorecard , which grades and ranks each state on the strength of its gun laws. Another signature product is  Gun Law Trendwatch , which tracks and analyzes major developments in state firearm legislation across the country and is released biweekly during the state legislative cycle.

History of Giffords Law Center

Following the July 1, 1993 mass shooting at the law firm Pettit & Martin in San Francisco that killed eight and wounded six, a group of local attorneys had the courage to come together, take action, and create an organization that would leverage the expertise of the legal community to reduce gun violence in America.

More than two decades later, Giffords Law Center continues to work to defend and advance laws that are proven to save lives and prevent shootings. In California, the organization helped cut the state’s gun-death rate in half by drafting and passing innovative laws that served as a model for other states. In the past 26 years, Giffords Law Center has worked with legislators to pass hundreds of new gun laws in dozens of states around the country and partnered with local governments and the private bar to defend existing laws from gun lobby challenges.

Today, Giffords Law Center is the premier national resource for legal expertise and information on state and federal gun laws, teaming up with organizations across the country to fight for the solutions proven to make America safer from gun violence.

Giffords Law Center Milestones

  • Provided legal support to activists and officials in all 50 states.
  • Helped pass over 60 gun safety laws in California, resulting in a 50% drop in the state’s gun death rate between 1993 and 2013—twice the drop of the national average during the same time period.
  • Worked with state lawmakers and the California Firearms Strategy Group to enact the first gun violence restraining order in the nation.
  • Filed dozens of amicus briefs in appellate cases in which strong firearms laws were challenged.
  • Launched an initiative focused on reducing urban gun violence and teams with the private bar to fight for gun safety in the courts.
  • Assisted in the creation of a series of gun violence prevention executive orders announced by the Obama Administration in 2016.
  • Developed a pro bono program that has included over 50 law firms and more than 200 volunteer attorneys.