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Giffords Endorses Jaime Harrison for Senate in South Carolina

April 16, 2020 Giffords , the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, endorsed Jaime Harrison for Senate in South Carolina. Harrison, taking on longtime gun lobby ally Lindsey Graham, is key to electing a gun safety majority. In 2018, Giffords was central to the effort to bring a majority committed to action on gun safety to the House of Representatives. These endorsements are part of a push to make the same change in the Senate in 2020.

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

“The Senate won’t change its priorities until we change its leadership. Americans are fed up with politicians in Washington who respond to the tragedy of gun violence by taking dollars and directions from the gun lobby. We need leaders who have the courage to put the safety of our kids and communities ahead of the NRA’s political agenda. This year, if we come together, we have the power to elect champions who will bring gun safety to the United States Senate.

“Jaime Harrison knows what it means to be a gun safety champion. He understands that owning a gun comes with responsibilities and we can protect that right while keeping firearms out of the wrong hands. While their opponent Lindsey Graham has walked the gun lobby line, Jaime will stand up for our safety. The time for inaction is over. The time to raise our voices is now. It’s time to elect leaders like Jaime Harrison to fight for an America where gun violence no longer plagues families and communities.”

Growing up in a working class household in small-town South Carolina, Jaime Harrison witnessed the struggles that his grandparents and single mother faced, and was determined from a young age to give back to his community. After attending Yale and Georgetown Law, Jaime came home to do just that as a teacher at his old high school, empowering his students to see their own potential.

Before Jaime decided to run for Senate, he already understood that elections matter. He had served as a congressional aide to Congressman James Clyburn and as the first African American chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party. Now, in his own election, Jaime is facing Lindsey Graham, a senator who has consistently been endorsed by the NRA and refuses to tackle gun violence in any substantive way, despite chairing or sitting on influential committees like Judiciary and Appropriations. After the 2015 shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, Jaime Harrison was among a large contingent of elected officials and leaders calling for urgent action. Having lost a family member to gun violence, Jaime understands the danger of Senate inaction on this issue and will fight to bring lifesaving gun safety legislation to a vote when he wins this year.

“I am honored to be endorsed by Giffords and look forward to working together to stop the epidemic of gun violence both in South Carolina and across the country,” Harrison said. “More than four years ago, a lone gunman walked into Charleston’s Mother Emanuel AME Church and killed our brothers and sisters. Families lost their loved ones, and I lost my friend Rev. Clementa Pinckney on that day. As Senator, I will fight for bold action and real reform rather than settle for symbolic gestures.”

The current COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted a number of gaps in our federal gun laws that will require federal action in the near future. Issues such as safe storage, loopholes that leave domestic violence survivors vulnerable to abuse, and a strain on our federal background checks system have all been magnified during the coronavirus outbreak. Electing gun safety champions to the Senate will ensure that Congress actually addresses these dangerous gaps.

About Giffords 2020 Political Efforts:

Jaime Harrison approaches gun safety legislation with the seriousness and urgency needed to solve our country’s gun violence epidemic. In contrast, his opponent in the Senate has stalled and obstructed any and all gun safety bills sent by the House. That’s why Giffords invested nearly $750,000 in ads calling out Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) for failing to support H.R. 8 last year.

Giffords is also leading the effort to make this the year the country elects a #GunSafetyPresident. Congresswoman Giffords, recently announced her endorsement and the endorsement of Giffords PAC of Joe Biden for president of the United States of America. Vice President Biden has fought for stronger gun safety laws throughout his career and has promised it will be a top priority for his administration.

Congresswoman Giffords and Vice President Biden have a long history of working together to advance commonsense gun safety laws, especially in the wake of the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Biden was there to welcome Congresswoman Giffords back to the Capitol months after she was shot and then again at President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address.

 Recently released polling showed that the issue of gun safety is becoming a major factor for voters, and one that is critical to winning elections in these areas of the country. 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.