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Giffords Endorses James Mackler for Senate in Tennessee

April 16, 2020 Giffords , the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, endorsed James Mackler for United States Senate in Tennessee. Mackler’s race to fill retiring Sen. Lamar Alexander’s seat is an opportunity to finally bring a majority to the Senate that is willing to lead on gun safety. 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.

“James Mackler 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. The time for inaction is over. The time to raise our voices is now. It’s time to elect leaders like James Mackler to fight for an America where gun violence no longer plagues families and communities.”

Decorated Iraq War combat veteran James Mackler is running for Senate in Tennessee to continue his service to the state. After the attacks on September 11, 2001, James joined the 101st Airborne Division, where he spent three years as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot and completed a deployment to Iraq. After his service overseas, James continued on in the military as a prosecutor. Today, he is a father, a member of the Tennessee Air National Guard, and an attorney in Nashville.

James is also a gun owner, and he understands that we can both exercise our Second Amendment rights and keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. As a veteran, James understands that when we serve—through the military or elected office—our main priority should be fighting for the safety of our communities. In the Senate, James will restore the trust of Tennesseans and people across the country who are looking for bipartisan solutions to make America safer.

“We can never accept our crisis of gun violence as a normal part of everyday life, and we need senators to say so,” said James Mackler. “I’m a military veteran and a gun owner and I know we can protect our 2nd Amendment rights and keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. Closing glaring loopholes while extending background checks to all gun sales to make our communities safer is supported by gun owners like me, Congresswoman Giffords, and 86% of Tennesseans. It’s been more than 400 days since bipartisan legislation to do just that was passed in the House without seeing a vote in Mitch McConnell’s Senate, so it’s time to elect new leaders and a new Senate majority. We’ll win Tennessee’s open seat Senate race when everyone wanting change joins the team to make it happen, and I’m so honored to have Congresswoman Giffords and Giffords PAC on our team.”

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:

James Mackler approaches gun safety legislation with the seriousness and urgency needed to solve our country’s gun violence epidemic. In contrast, the majority in the Senate has stalled and obstructed any and all gun safety bills sent to them 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.