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Giffords Hires Florida State Director As Part of Efforts to Strengthen Foothold in the Sunshine State

Samantha Barrios is an experienced gun safety organizer and native Spanish speaker dedicated to saving lives from gun violence in Florida

Miami, FL —  Today, Giffords, the gun safety organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, announced a key hire to advance their work on the ground in Florida. Samantha Barrios will serve as Giffords’ first ever Florida state director—a role responsible for managing the organization’s renewed investment across the state. Barrios comes to Giffords after over five years of work with Moms Demand Action, where she served as the Miami local group lead and became well-versed in the need to elect gun safety champions to state and federal office in order to make real change in the fight for gun safety nationwide.

Former Congresswoman and Giffords Senior Advisor Debbie Mucarsel-Powell: 

“The House and Senate majorities depend on Florida this year, and Giffords is making a historic investment in this state, one where far too many families have been torn apart by tragic acts of gun violence. Time after time, we’ve seen NRA-backed politicians try to move this state backwards. We are determined to create a lasting political infrastructure across Florida to combat the dissemination of harmful misinformation and to rally against the weak gun laws that put our people at risk. Samantha Barrios is extremely qualified to lead this work, and I know that her efforts in this state will set the stage for victories this fall and for years to come.”

Giffords Florida State Director Samantha Barrios: 

“Florida is my home, and I am committed to ensuring a better future for the children and families who live here. I have spent the past five years helping keep communities across this state safe from senseless violence as a local lead for Moms Demand Action. I have so much respect for the vitally important work that Giffords and Gabby have done in recent years, and I couldn’t be more excited to join their team. It’s an honor to help lead their initiatives in this state at such a crucial time.”

With spiking rates of violence across the state, Giffords has made it a top priority to swing the balance of power on this issue in Florida by electing gun safety champions up and down the ballot. In December 2021, Giffords endorsed Congresswoman Val Demings in her campaign against incumbent Senator Marco Rubio at an event in Miami with Gabby Giffords. 

Senator Rubio’s inaction on this issue in the face of tragedies like Pulse and Parkland, when paired with his refusal to do anything to combat day-to-day violence in Florida communities, is a moral stain on the state and is an affront to the citizens of Florida. With 86% of voters supporting the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, and 72% of respondents saying they would not vote for someone who opposes background checks, we know that this issue can motivate Floridians to vote this November, and we are excited that Samantha Barrios will be leading our charge for change.

Prior to joining Giffords, Barrios served as the local lead for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America in Miami. With more than 15 years of activism and involvement in different local, international and non-profit organizations, such as the Organization of American States and the United Nations, 

Barrios has garnered ample experience working with political campaigns and in building coalitions—particularly within the gun violence prevention movement and the Hispanic community. Barrios, who is fully fluent in Spanish, has a Certification in Nonprofit Management from the University of Virginia, a Masters in Political Science from Marshall University and Bachelor of Business Administration from Universidad Nueva Esparta.


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