Press Release

Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Senate Candidate James Mackler Rally for Universal Background Checks in the Senate

Tennessee stop of the ‘Road to Universal Background Checks Tour’ featured gun safety champion and senate candidate James Mackler as key member of the national movement to flip the Senate

July 22, 2020 — Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, co-founder of the gun violence prevention group Giffords, and Tennessee senate candidate James Mackler joined Robyn Thomas of Giffords and gun violence survivor and activist Shaundelle Brooks in a virtual rally to elect a gun safety Senate. Part of the larger Road to Universal Background Checks Tour, the group spoke with Tennesseans about the importance of electing a new Senate majority ready to take action on universal background checks.

“Tennesseans are demanding that leaders listen to them and pass commonsense measures like universal background checks,” said Robyn Thomas of Giffords. “Tonight, we heard from James Mackler on why he is the voice Tennesseans need in the Senate to make gun safety a priority. He listens to survivors, like he did tonight when Shaundelle Brooks shared the story of her son, and he listens to the majority of Tennesseans demanding action. We’re excited to support James Mackler in his bid for the U.S. Senate.”

Speaking to thousands of viewers in Tennessee and nationwide, the panel of gun safety champions stressed the importance of protecting the gun safety majority in the House and electing a gun safety majority to the Senate so that universal background checks can finally become law.

“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 80% of Tennesseans. It’s been more than 500 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. I’m so honored to have Congresswoman Giffords and Giffords PAC on our team, and investing in Tennessee as part of the pathway to electing a new majority. We’ll win the race for Tennessee’s open U.S. Senate seat when everyone wanting change joins our team to make it happen.”

As a 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. 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.

“No parent should have to know the pain of losing a child,” said Shaundelle Brooks. “I’m fighting to make a difference for my son through the Akilah Dasilva Foundation, and so other mothers don’t have to experience the same hurt I do to this day. It’s time for our leaders to listen to us. It’s time to bring new voices to power who will show the dedication needed to protect our families, and I’m proud to stand with Congresswoman Giffords and James Mackler to elevate these voices of change.”

Recently released Public Policy Polling of Tennessee voters finds that 8 in 10 Tennesseans support stronger gun safety policies like universal background checks. 60% of Tennessee voters are more likely to support a candidate if they support background checks, while only 9% are more likely to support a candidate who opposes background checks.