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Giffords Launches New Initiative to Support Gun Safety Candidates in the Sunshine State

“Giffords Florida” Is the Largest Gun Safety Political Program Focused Entirely on Florida

Washington DC — Today, Giffords, the gun violence prevention organization led by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, announced the launch of Giffords Florida, a new initiative dedicated to supporting candidates for local, state, and federal office in the Sunshine State who have the courage to fight gun violence. Giffords Florida, which is Giffords’ first and only state-specific political initiative, is now the largest bilingual gun safety political program focused entirely on Florida.

Ahead of the 2022 elections, Giffords Florida is endorsing candidates with strong records on gun safety, helping get out the vote for gun safety candidates, conducting research about Floridians’ views on gun violence prevention measures, and investing more than $1 million. The initiative is also focused on holding Florida’s leaders accountable, and throughout the year Giffords Florida has been conducting a multifaceted, bilingual campaign highlighting Senator Marco Rubio’s inaction and hypocrisy regarding gun violence prevention. Giffords Florida will continue to invest in the state beyond the 2022 elections, and build its growing network of Gun Owners for Safety in the Sunshine State. 

Giffords Florida has a bilingual team on the ground in the Sunshine State, including Giffords Senior Advisor, former Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell and is led by State Director Samantha Barrios. The organization will soon release additional details about a Florida bus tour featuring Gabby Giffords, former Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, and local gun safety advocates that will include endorsement announcements of specific candidates for local, state, and federal offices.

Giffords Florida Senior Advisor former Congresswoman Debbie Mucarsel-Powell:

“As a former congresswoman and a victim of gun violence, I have seen the devastating effects of the disinformation campaign and millions of dollars invested by the corporate gun lobby to support candidates in Florida who push a violent agenda promoting dangerous bills like open carry. Giffords Florida provides a clear alternative by helping candidates who will fight for a future without violence and one where our children’s lives come before guns. I know that gun safety is a winning issue in Florida, especially among Latinos and many groups of independent voters. The polling is clear: Floridians overwhelmingly agree we must do more to fight the senseless scourge of gun violence. Giffords Florida is committed to making sure Floridians know which candidates are committed to building ‘un futuro sin violencia’.”

Giffords Florida State Director Samantha Barrios:

“Thousands of Floridians have experienced the horrors of gun violence firsthand, and gun safety advocates here have demonstrated what is possible when we organize and turn out to vote.  Beyond the devastating tragedies at Pulse Nightclub and Marjory Stoneman Douglas that shocked our state and our country, gun violence is a disturbing fact of life in too many Florida neighborhoods. This is especially true within communities of color, which make up a disproportionate share of gun homicide victims. We’re going to do everything we can to support candidates who have the courage to fight gun violence and keep Floridians safe.”

Giffords Executive Director Peter Ambler:

“Giffords is launching its first state program in the Sunshine State because it is home to many close elections that pit gun lobby politicians against gun safety champions. The data is clear that candidates in Florida who support gun safety measures are more likely to win. We are committed to holding politicians like Senator Rubio accountable for refusing to support any of the commonsense gun safety proposals that would save lives. Florida has shown that progress is possible on this issue, but more work lies ahead. This work starts with electing more public servants at every level of government who are committed to passing commonsense reforms to end gun violence.”

Giffords has already built a strong foundation in Florida. In December 2021, Giffords hosted a Gun Violence Memorial at Bayfront Park in Miami and endorsed Val Demings for US Senate. Earlier this year, Giffords partnered with the Miami Heat on a campaign to end gun violence and Giffords Florida Senior Advisor Debbie Mucarsel-Powell worked alongside the families of Marjory Stoneman Douglas victims to call for gun safety reforms. In March, Giffords teamed up with Public Policy Polling on a survey which found that 69% of Floridians would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports background checks. In June, Giffords hosted a bilingual telephone town hall on the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act for Miami Dade County residents. 

Giffords Florida also has built a coalition of community leaders in Florida for its steering committee. Members of the committee include: Former Congresswoman & Giffords Florida Steering Committee Chair Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, State Rep. Anna V. Eskamani, State Rep. Christine Hunschofsky, Adelys Ferró, Anabella  Perelló,  Angela Weber, Brandon Wolf, Cecilia Gonzalez, Evelyn Perez-Verdia, Gabby Padron Lowenstein, Jose Gamboa, Laurie Gunn, Lyle Grandison, Marcos Vilar, Maria Corina Vega, Mariella Vasquez, Mary Ann Ruiz, MJ & Fred Wright, Nancy Rosado, Patti Brigham, and Samuel Vilchez.

Earlier this year, Giffords created a Spanish Language Hub as a way to connect with Spanish speakers interested in learning more about gun safety reform.


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