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Giffords Endorses Seven Members of House Leadership for Being Gun Safety Champions

    These Representatives led the successful charge for gun safety legislation in the 116th Congress

    May 27, 2020Giffords, the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, endorsed seven incumbent members of the US House of Representatives in their bids for reelection. The slate, all leaders of the House majority, made gun safety legislation a priority in Congress. They were instrumental to the passage of historic legislation like H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019. The endorsement of these seven members of House leadership follows the Giffords endorsement of Speaker Nancy Pelosi earlier this year.

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

    “When it comes to gun safety, leadership requires the courage to put the safety of the many over the money and influence of a few. That’s exactly what these House leaders did in passing lifesaving gun safety legislation like universal background checks. They took on the gun lobby and showed America that change is possible. But our fight against gun violence is not over—we need each of these gun safety champions to continue their leadership in the House of Representatives and pass gun safety legislation into law.”

    Today’s Giffords Endorsements include:

    • Cheri Bustos (IL-17): Cheri Bustos was born in Springfield, Illinois, to a family with a long tradition of public service—Cheri’s grandfather and father both worked in government, and her mother was a teacher. From a young age, she learned about the importance of working for her community. After college, Cheri spent almost two decades as a reporter before working in nonprofit community health systems before, during, and after the passage of the Affordable Care Act. She started her career in government on the East Moline City Council in 2007. In 2012, Cheri mounted a successful campaign to represent Illinois’s 17th District in Congress. During her tenure in office, Congresswoman Bustos has been instrumental in passing meaningful gun safety legislation. She has voted for critical bills like the Bipartisan Background Checks Act and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2019, and she has put pressure on Senate Republicans to bring those bills to a vote. As Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, she is also working to increase the gun safety majority in Congress by helping elect more gun safety champions across the country.
    • Katherine Clark (MA-05): Congresswoman Katherine Clark has represented the Fifth District of Massachusetts since 2013. After working for several years as an attorney, she entered public service as a member of the Melrose School Committee, eventually serving in both chambers of the Massachusetts State Legislature before running for Congress. In the wake of the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Rep. Clark teamed up with Rep. John Lewis to lead a nearly 26-hour-long sit-in on the House floor to protest her Republican colleagues’ inaction on gun violence. In her role as vice chair of the House Democratic Caucus, she has been instrumental in making gun safety a key priority. As a mother, she is serious about protecting her family from gun violence and encouraging their engagement with the issue. Her teenage son led their local community’s March for Our Lives protest after the 2018 Parkland shooting. Rep. Clark’s actions in Congress speak volumes about her support for gun safety, and her commitment to the issue is essential to sustaining the progress the House has made so far.
    • Jim Clyburn (SC-06): Congressman Jim Clyburn is in his 14th term representing South Carolina’s Sixth District and currently serves as House Majority Whip. Congressman Clyburn was born and raised in South Carolina, graduating from South Carolina State College and beginning his career as a public school teacher in Charleston. After becoming involved in community development organizations, Clyburn earned the distinction of becoming the first minority advisor to a South Carolina governor and worked as South Carolina Human Affairs Commissioner for nearly two decades before being elected to Congress in 1992. On June 17, 2015, a white supremacist shot and killed nine African American worshipers at the Emanuel AME Church just outside of Congressman Clyburn’s district in Charleston. Although the shooter should have failed a background check because of his history of drug use, his background check was not processed within three days and the sale of the deadly firearm was allowed to proceed. Congressman Clyburn has championed closing this loophole in our federal gun laws since the tragedy. In February 2019, the House finally passed bipartisan legislation authored by Congressman Clyburn, H.R. 1112, the Enhanced Background Checks Act, to give law enforcement more time to complete background checks.
    • Steny Hoyer (MD-05): Congressman Steny Hoyer has proudly represented Maryland’s Fifth Congressional District since 1981. As House Majority Leader, Hoyer is the second-ranking member of the House Democratic Leadership. He plays a key role in shaping House Democrats’ priorities and bringing legislation to the floor to effect the party’s progressive agenda. He previously served as House Majority Leader from 2007 to 2011 and House Democratic Whip from 2003 to 2007. Prior to serving his first term as Whip, Hoyer was Chair of the Democratic Caucus from 1989 to 1995. In 2018 Congressman Hoyer’s district was rocked by a shooting at Great Mills High School. Hoyer knows how important it is for our communities to feel and be safe, and has worked to pass commonsense legislation to put an end to tragedies like the one at Great Mills. In his role as Majority Leader, Congressman Hoyer has worked to ensure the passage of key gun safety legislation, including H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act and H.R. 1112, the Enhanced Background Checks Act.
    • Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08): Congressman Hakeem Jeffries learned about the value of helping others from his mother, a social worker, and his father, a substance abuse counselor. After serving as a clerk for a US District Court judge and as a litigator, Jeffries decided to make the transition to public office to continue advocating on behalf of his community in a different way. He spent six years in the New York State Assembly, introducing bills to address issues like corporate negligence and unfair policing, before running for Congress in 2012. In Congress, Rep. Jeffries has made gun safety one of his top priorities, especially when it comes to protecting our most vulnerable communities. As the Congressional Black Caucus Whip, he led his fellow members in a “hands up, don’t shoot” demonstration in 2014 to spark a national conversation about the shooting of unarmed black men by police. After Rep. Jeffries was elected chair of the House Democratic Caucus, he worked with his colleagues to pass the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019. Rep. Jeffries is a fearless and effective leader in the fight for gun safety, and will continue to play this role if re-elected.
    • John Lewis (GA-05): Congressman John Lewis has dedicated his life to advocacy. Prior to his tenure in Congress, he was chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and one of the “Big Six” leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, helping to organize the 1963 March on Washington.  His dedication to the highest ethical standards and moral principles has won him the reputation of being “the conscience of the US Congress”  as well as the admiration of many of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle. Congressman Lewis has continued his advocacy work while in Congress, leading a group of 170 lawmakers in a day-long sit-in on the House floor to protest inaction on gun safety legislation in the aftermath of the 2016 shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando. He serves as Senior Chief Deputy Whip for the Democratic party leadership, and has played a key role in ensuring the passage of commonsense gun safety legislation. Lewis will continue to use his position in Congress to advocate for reforms to end gun violence in the United States.
    • Jerry Nadler (NY-10): Congressman Jerry Nadler has spent most of his adult life fighting for New Yorkers, first in Albany and now in DC.  He was first elected to the New York State Assembly while he was still in law school, and spent 16 years serving as a Democratic assemblyman. In 1992, he was elected to the US House of Representatives in a special election and has served in Congress ever since. Congressman Nadler serves as the chair of the House Judiciary Committee. In that role, he has played a key role in bringing important gun safety legislation to the floor of the House of Representatives. In 2019, he led a series of hearings examining the problem of gun violence in the United States, reinforcing the importance of this issue to the Democratic majority. Congressman Nadler has been a strong supporter of key gun safety legislation, including the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019.

    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.