Press Release

Giffords Endorses Lauren Underwood in First Endorsement Slate of the Year 

In her first term, Lauren Underwood followed through on vow to take action on gun violence prevention, helping to pass the most robust gun safety agenda in decades

Washington, DCGiffords, the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, announced its endorsement of Lauren Underwood (IL-14) as part of the first endorsement slate of 2020. Along with seven other candidates endorsed today, all women from suburban districts, Rep. Underwood vowed to take action on gun safety if elected to Congress and then followed through, helping the House majority to, among other things, pass H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, the first large gun reform bill to get congressional approval in decades. Giffords is supporting her return so she can continue fighting for the initiatives that will help address America’s gun violence crisis.

Statement from former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, co-founder of Giffords:

“Strong women get things done and Lauren Underwood was essential to the successful effort to get gun safety legislation through Congress. She has made clear that where others might waver, she will push ahead. She did not back down in the face of a gun lobby that tried to use its power and influence to block progress. Congresswoman Underwood’s arrival in Washington signaled the NRA’s ironclad grip on the House of Representatives was over.

“Because of Representative Underwood, Congress took the historic step of passing H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act. Progress in 2020 means reelecting Lauren Underwood so she can continue being champions for a safer America. We’re proud to endorse Congresswoman Lauren Underwood as she fights to free our country from its crisis of gun violence.”

Congresswoman Lauren Underwood represents Illinois’s 14th District, located in the Chicago suburbs, as the youngest African American woman ever to be elected to the House of Representatives. In addition to sitting on several House committees, ranging from Education and Labor to Veterans’ Affairs, Congresswoman Underwood is also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, the LGBT Equality Caucus, and the Congressional Gun Violence Prevention Task Force.

Shortly after taking office, a shooting at a manufacturing plant just outside the congresswoman’s district left five people dead and six wounded, and she quickly took action eleven days later by helping pass the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 (H.R. 8). With a background in healthcare, working at the US Department of Health and Human Services on projects like Affordable Care Act implementation and disaster relief, Congresswoman Underwood believes that gun violence is a public health crisis that the government must address.

She was part of the 116th Congress that took monumental steps to advance lifesaving gun violence prevention legislation. H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, was one of the first pieces of legislation introduced in 2019, passing through the full House weeks after it was introduced. Congress similarly appropriated $25 million in gun violence research funding, and the House held more than a dozen hearings with gun violence as the main focus.

Recently released polling demonstrates that the issue of gun safety is becoming a major factor for voters, and one that is critical to winning elections in 2020. Fifty-nine percent of suburban women in the swing states of Colorado, Minnesota, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Texas support stronger gun laws and say this issue is “very important” to their vote. An even larger group (64%) says that they would never vote for a candidate who didn’t support “requiring background checks on all gun sales,” outranking 13 other social and economic policy positions as the top voting determinant. Responses like these underscore that suburban women increasingly want a leader committed to gun safety.