Press Release

Giffords Backs Five Incumbents Running To Keep a Gun Safety Majority in the House

Five incumbent Representatives have strong gun safety records

May 20, 2020Giffords, the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, endorsed five incumbent members of the US House of Representatives with strong gun safety records in their reelection bids for Congress. These members were all part of the majority that passed historic legislation like H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019. Their reelections are essential to continuing the progress made by the gun safety champions of the 116th Congress.

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

“These gun safety champions are a part of the majority that helped make history. They proved that progress is possible when leaders stand up to special interests. Because of their courage, Congress did what many said could never happen: passed major gun safety legislation on background checks and gun violence research funding. Now, we have the opportunity to build on these victories by sending this group of leaders back to Washington, DC with a renewed mandate to protect every American community from gun violence.”   

Today’s Giffords Endorsements include:

  • Matt Cartwright (PA-08): Congressman Matt Cartwright proudly represents Pennsylvania’s Eighth District. Before being elected to Congress in 2012, Cartwright spent 25 years working at a family law firm in Scranton, where he specialized in defending consumers and small businesses. In office, he has continued fighting on behalf of working class families, compiling an impressive track record of collaborating across the aisle to get results for his constituents. As a gun owner himself, Congressman Cartwright understands the responsibilities that come with owning a firearm, as well as the urgent need for stronger gun laws. Cartwright serves on the House Appropriations Committee, where he has been a strong advocate for ensuring that federal law enforcement has the resources it needs to keep our communities safe from gun violence. He also strongly supports commonsense measures to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, domestic abusers, and other dangerous people.

  • David Cicilline (RI-01): Congressman David Cicilline has a distinguished record of serving the people of Rhode Island. Before becoming the congressman for Rhode Island’s First District in 2011, Cicilline served two terms as mayor of Providence and as a member of the Rhode Island House of Representatives. Congressman Cicilline has used his ability to build relationships with people from all walks of life to achieve impressive results throughout his career in public service. Today Congressman David Cicilline serves as the chair of the House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee. Saving lives from gun violence has long been a top priority for Congressman Cicilline. As mayor of Providence, Cicilline was a founding member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns. In Congress, he serves on the House Judiciary Committee, where he is a powerful advocate for commonsense gun safety policies. Congressman Cicilline has also introduced key legislation to prohibit the manufacturing and sale of ghost guns—untraceable firearms that are unserialized and available without a background check. His voice will continue to be a critical one for gun violence prevention when a new Congress convenes in 2021.

  • Jamie Raskin (MD-08): Before being elected to Congress in 2016, Congressman Jamie Raskin spent over two decades as a professor of constitutional law at American University’s Washington College of Law and served for nearly ten years in the Maryland state legislature. Today Congressman Raskin represents a district that stretches from the DC suburbs of Montgomery County through rural Maryland up to the Pennsylvania border. Congressman Raskin brings his considerable legal expertise to bear on the issue of gun safety through his position on the House Judiciary Committee. There, he persuasively makes the argument that commonsense measures such as universal background checks and extreme risk protection orders are entirely in keeping with Second Amendment rights, despite the gun lobby’s argument to the contrary. Raskin has also introduced legislation to encourage states to pass handgun licensing laws, which have been shown to lead to significant reductions in both gun homicides and suicides.

  • Adam Smith (WA-09): Congressman Adam Smith has represented Washington’s Ninth District since 1997, though his work in the public sector began years earlier. At age 25, Smith was elected to the Washington State Senate, becoming the youngest state senator in the country at the time. After three terms in the state legislature, he was elected to Congress. Smith has been an unwavering supporter of gun safety in the House. He was one of the original co-sponsors of the Zero Tolerance for Domestic Abusers Act in 2017, which would keep firearms out of the hands of convicted stalkers. This Congress, he has co-sponsored legislation to expand universal background checks, restore federal funding for gun violence research, and provide funding for extreme risk protection orders. Congressman Smith’s extensive legislative experience has informed his view of gun violence as an issue that exists at the intersection of several policy areas. He truly understands the magnitude of the problem, and continues to fight for commonsense solutions.

  • Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23): Before Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz was elected to represent Florida’s 23rd District in 2004, she was already serving her community as an educator and an accomplished member of the state legislature. She made history as the youngest female legislator ever to hold office in Florida when she joined the state house at the age of 26. Following her eight-year tenure there, she taught political science at Broward Community College, then returned to public office as a state senator. In office, Rep. Wasserman Schultz has been a fierce gun safety champion. As a member of two significant House committees, Appropriations and Oversight and Reform, she understands both the power of federal funding and the importance of accountability. She has consistently supported funding for gun violence research and measures to hold gun manufacturers accountable. In 2018, the tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School happened just 20 minutes from Rep. Wasserman Schultz’s house. Rep. Wasserman Schultz has watched her community and her country grieve far too many lives lost to gun violence, and she will do everything in her power to prevent these tragedies from happening again.

While the House of Representatives has approached gun safety legislation with the seriousness and urgency needed to solve our country’s gun violence epidemic, the current 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.  The organization launched a video campaign this past fall that allowed the American people to hear directly from leading Democratic candidates for president about gun violence—the issue keeping people up at night and dominating discussion at kitchen tables across the country. They also joined with March For Our Lives to host a 2020 gun safety forum in Las Vegas in October.