Gun Safety Organizations Applaud Rye Brook Gun Violence Prevention Ordinance

WASHINGTON DC — Today, the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence and Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS), the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Navy combat veteran and NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, issued the below statement applauding the Rye Brook, New York, Board of Trustees for passing a new ordinance requiring gun dealers to adopt responsible practices proven to save lives and reduce gun violence. The Law Center and ARS’s policy experts helped craft this groundbreaking ordinance for the town of Rye Brook.

Allison Anderman, Managing Attorney, Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence:

“Today, the Rye Brook Board of Trustees took bold, lifesaving action by passing a new, commonsense ordinance to ensure that gun dealers operate as safely as possible. These responsible policies will keep guns out of the wrong hands, help law enforcement solve crimes, and reduce gun thefts and trafficking. We hope the leadership exhibited by Rye Brook today will inspire other municipalities in New York and other states to step up and do their part to save lives from gun violence. The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence and Americans for Responsible Solutions stand at the ready to help any local government looking to make their community a safer place to live. With a president and Congress in the gun lobby’s grip, now more than ever it’s up to officials at the state and local level to fight for the smart gun laws we know save lives, and that’s exactly what Rye Brook has done.”

About the Rye Brook Ordinance

Rye Brook’s ordinance is now one of the most comprehensive gun dealer regulations in New York State. The ordinance:

  • Prevents gun dealerships from operating within 500 feet of any public school, private school, nursery school, or religious institution, and zones them to appropriate commercial locations.
  • Requires that all ammunition and firearms be kept secured and stored in areas not accessible to the public.
  • Requires that dealers maintain an alarm system and video surveillance for security purposes and to aid law enforcement.
  • Requires gun dealers to post notices and warnings of firearm laws.
  • Requires gun dealers to report any theft or loss to local law enforcement officials.
  • Restricts admittance for minors to gun dealerships.
  • Prohibits individuals legally barred from possessing firearms from entering the gun dealership.
  • Requires gun dealers to report their inventory to law enforcement officials every six months.
  • Allows law enforcement to inspect gun dealerships for compliance with local, state and federal laws.
  • Requires background checks for the employees of gun dealers.

Americans for Responsible Solutions & the Law Center Prevent Gun Violence Applaud the California Assembly for Advancing Bill to Help Close Hate Crime Gap

SAN FRANCISCO, CA —Today, Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS), the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, combat veteran and retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, and its partner organization the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, applauded the California Assembly for advancing a new bill, AB 785, which helps close a gap in California law that permits individuals convicted of hate crimes to possess and acquire firearms within 10 years of conviction.

Robin Lloyd, Government Affairs Director, Americans for Responsible Solutions:

“We applaud the Assembly for passing this responsible bill that will help close a gaping loophole in California law that lets individuals convicted of hate crimes possess firearms. We especially want to thank Assembly Member Jones-Sawyer for his leadership in introducing this lifesaving bill. Today’s vote puts California one step closer to joining the growing list of states across the country that have taken responsible steps that make it harder for hate crime offenders to access guns.”

Ari Freilich, Staff Attorney and Director of California Legislative Affairs, Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence:

“We thank the California Assembly for passing the bipartisan Disarm Hate Act to address a large and growing threat to public safety in this state. Guns are used in thousands of hate crimes every year. Recent mass murders targeting our nation’s LGBT, African-American, and Sikh communities at a nightclub in Orlando, a historic church in Charleston, and a temple in Oak Creek were among the deadliest hate crimes ever committed on US soil, and among the deadliest mass shootings in our nation’s history. The Disarm Hate Act will help keep lethal weapons out of the hands of convicted hate offenders who have escalated their toxic bigotry into violent assaults, threats, and other crimes. This bill will help make California safer and freer for all who call it home, and we are proud to sponsor it.”

About AB 785

Under California law, individuals convicted of any of roughly 40 separate misdemeanors are prohibited from owning or acquiring guns for 10 years after conviction, unless they successfully petition a court to demonstrate that they are not a threat to public safety. However, the state penal code’s list of firearm-prohibiting misdemeanors does not include hate crimes.

Between 2010 and 2014, roughly 43,000 hate crimes committed in the United States involved the use or threatened use of a gun. And since 2014, hate crime incidents have become more numerous and more vicious, both in California and across the United States, posing a serious threat to targeted groups and innocent lives.

The Disarm Hate Act (AB 785), which was drafted and sponsored by the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, would prohibit people convicted of hate crime misdemeanors from accessing lethal weapons within 10 years of conviction, unless they can successfully demonstrate to a court that they are not a threat to public safety.

Legal Experts Encourage California State Legislature to Continue Funding CalGRIP Program That Has Effectively Reduced Gun Violence

WASHINGTON, DC–Today, attorneys from the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence and Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS), the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Navy combat veteran and NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, issued the below statements to encourage the California legislature to reauthorize funding for the California Gang Reduction, Intervention & Prevention (CalGRIP) program.

Mike McLively, Staff Attorney, Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence and Americans for Responsible Solutions:

“The gun violence intervention and prevention strategies supported by CalGRIP are an important part of California’s overall violence prevention portfolio. Now is certainly not the time to pull back on these strategies. Other leading states on the issue of gun violence prevention, like New York, are increasingly committing state dollars to programs like this. If California is going to stay on top of gun violence, then we need to find a way to restore this critical funding source.”

Ari Freilich, Director of California Legislative Affairs, Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence and Americans for Responsible Solutions:

“Commonsense gun policy reform has helped California cut its gun murder rate by a remarkable 60% in the last two decades. This state is a leader for public safety, but our work is not over. Particularly in underserved urban communities, a comprehensive preventive response is also required to address the root causes of violence and to interrupt entrenched cycles of shootings and retaliation. CalGRIP represents a critical, cost-effective investment in lifesaving counter-violence programs and works to ensure all Californians may live free from fear of violence. We’re proud to stand up for this important work today.”

About the California Gang Reduction, Intervention & Prevention (CalGRIP) Program

CalGRIP is one of the only sources of state-level funding for locally driven violence prevention strategies. In recent years, CalGRIP grantee cities across California, including Los Angeles, San Jose, and Oakland, have achieved lifesaving, cost-effective reductions in both violent crime and incarceration by implementing programs that provide focused outreach, counseling, and other services to youth identified as at-risk, and by developing coordinated agency responses to group-related retaliatory violence.

With its local matching requirement, CalGRIP has leveraged more than $18 million per year for violence intervention and prevention programs over the last decade. Eliminating this program could have dire consequences, particularly in under-resourced urban communities that need stronger and more targeted investment from the state to prevent gun violence.

About the Success of the CalGRIP Program

  • CalGRIP has provided Los Angeles $3 million over the past 3 years to help fund its Gang Reduction and Youth Development (GRYD) program. Los Angeles has seen a 38% reduction in homicides and 46% reduction in aggravated assaults since launching GRYD in 2007.
  • Over the past three years, CalGRIP has provided the City of Richmond $1.5 million to help fund the Office of Neighborhood Safety—a city agency dedicated exclusively to the prevention of violence. Richmond has seen a 53% drop in gun homicides and a 45% drop in non-fatal shootings since ONS launched the Operation Peacemaker Fellowship program in 2010.
  • CalGRIP has provided $1.5 million to the City of Oakland to fund its Operation Ceasefire Project focused on reducing gun violence. Oakland has seen a 34% drop in gun homicides and a 39% reduction in non-fatal shootings since launching Operation Ceasefire in late 2012.
  • In less than two years, between January 2015 and September 2016, CalGRIP-funded programs provided more than 511,000 hours of prevention or intervention services to 54,750 Californians at risk of perpetrating or being victimized by violence.

Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence Respond to Deadly Shooting at Elementary School in San Bernardino

April 10, 2017—Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, co-founder of the gun violence prevention organization Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS), and ARS’s partner organization, the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, today responded to the tragic shooting at North Park Elementary in San Bernardino, CA, that left a teacher and student dead, and a second student in critical condition. The shooter, who had a history of domestic violence, targeted his estranged wife in her classroom, shooting her and two young schoolchildren before turning the gun on himself.

STATEMENT BY CONGRESSWOMAN GIFFORDS

“Elementary school classrooms should be safe places, full of kindness—never horror. My heart is breaking for San Bernardino, which like so many communities around the country has mourned far too many innocent lives because a violent person was able to get their hands on a gun. We can no longer call events like this ‘unimaginable’ because they happen with alarming frequency. It’s time that all Americans have the courage to truly fight this crisis by standing up and demanding the smart gun laws we know save lives.”

STATEMENT BY ROBYN THOMAS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, LAW CENTER TO PREVENT GUN VIOLENCE

“Guns and domestic violence are a lethal mix. American women are 11 times more likely to be killed by a gun than women in other developed countries, 57 percent of mass shootings begin as domestic violence incidents, and domestic abuse situations are five times more likely to be fatal when an abuser has access to a gun. And we know that getting your hands on a gun in America is far, far too easy, even if you have a history of violence like the man who attacked North Park Elementary today. We owe it to our children and communities to do everything we can to prevent tragedies like the one in San Bernardino this morning before they happen, and that means seriously addressing the weaknesses in our gun laws that enable deadly domestic violence and attacks on schoolchildren.”

RESOURCES FROM ARS & THE LAW CENTER

Gun Safety Experts Respond to the Confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch to United States Supreme Court

WASHINGTON, DC — Americans for Responsible Solutions, the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Navy combat veteran and NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, and the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence today issued statements reacting to the confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court:

Peter Ambler, Executive Director of Americans for Responsible Solutions:

“The United States Senate just voted to confirm a justice whose views do not reflect the values and priorities of the American people. Throughout the confirmation process, Judge Gorsuch avoided giving meaningful answers on a range of topics, including the Second Amendment. Despite persistent questioning, he refused to acknowledge that the Second Amendment, like all constitutional rights, was ‘not unlimited’—a point the landmark Heller decision made explicitly. This is serious cause for concern and suggests that he would be willing do the gun lobby’s bidding and prioritize his own political agenda over an open-minded, fair interpretation of the law. When a groundswell of opposition to Judge Gorsuch’s nomination surfaced, Senate Republicans changed rules—instead of the nominee—in order to make sure he was confirmed. Americans deserve better. We deserve justices on the Supreme Court who respect the Second Amendment while also recognizing that reasonable regulations that reduce gun violence do not violate anyone’s constitutional rights.”

Robyn Thomas, Executive Director of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence:

“Anyone concerned about public safety in America should be concerned that today the Senate voted to confirm Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. More than once in his time on the Tenth Circuit, Gorsuch voted to weaken the federal law that has prohibited felons from possessing guns for the past 50 years, a law that has saved thousands of lives and enjoys near-unanimous support among Americans and elected officials on both sides of the aisle. Even Justice Scalia, arguably the most conservative Supreme Court justice in modern history, spoke out in favor of reasonable firearms regulation, including the prohibition on felons possessing guns. Gorsuch’s radical position on the Second Amendment is far outside the mainstream, and his presence on the Supreme Court demonstrates just how important it is that we stand up for the commonsense, proven solutions that we know save lives.”

Related Resources from ARS & the Law Center:

Gun Safety Groups Applaud the California State Assembly Public Safety Committee Taking Action to Keep Guns Out of the Hands of Convicted Hate Crime Offenders

AB 785 Would Add Hate Crimes to the List of Misdemeanors Prohibiting Firearm Possession Within 10 Years of Conviction.

Washington, DC –  Americans for Responsible Solutions, the national gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, and its partner organization, the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, today applauded the California State Assembly Public Safety Committee for advancing AB 785, a bill that will help keep guns out of dangerous hands, with unanimous bipartisan support. Current California state law prohibits persons who have been convicted of certain misdemeanors from purchasing or possessing firearms within 10 years of conviction. AB 785 will add convictions of hate crime misdemeanors to that list.

Ari Freilich, a staff attorney at Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, who testified at the California State House earlier today in support of AB 785, issued the following statement:

“Making our communities safer begins by making sure dangerous people are not able to get their hands on a gun. Strengthening our laws to make sure hate crime offenders are not able to own or acquire firearms within 10 years of their conviction is a common sense solution. Keeping lethal weapons out of the hands of those who have demonstrated a clear criminal danger toward others based on toxic bigotry will make our state safer and freer for all who call it home. I urge the Assembly to follow suit and pass this important bill in a bipartisan fashion.”

Between 2010 and 2014, roughly 43,000 hate crimes were committed in the United States involving the use or threatened use of a gun. AB 785 will help protect California residents from hate-motivated gun violence by:

·         Keeping guns out of the hands of violent extremists and hate groups.

·         Ensuring that individuals who have already demonstrated a propensity to escalate their bigotry into criminal conduct are temporarily prevented from possessing or acquiring firearms.

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About Americans for Responsible Solutions

Founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Navy combat veteran and retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS) is committed to advancing commonsense change that makes communities safer from gun violence and encouraging elected officials to advance responsible firearms policies. Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC is committed to helping elect candidates from both parties who support commonsense laws that make communities safer from gun violence. Learn more at responsiblesolutions.org and at @Resp_Solutions.

About the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence

Founded in the wake of the July 1, 1993, assault weapon massacre at 101 California Street in San Francisco that left eight dead and six wounded, the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence is now the premier resource for legal expertise and information regarding state and federal firearms laws. Made up of the foremost gun law attorneys in the nation, the Law Center tracks and analyzes firearms legislation in all 50 states, files amicus briefs in critical Second Amendment cases across the country, and works with lawmakers and advocates to craft and promote legislation that will reduce gun violence and save lives.  Learn more at smartgunlaws.org and at @smartgunlaws.

Americans for Responsible Solutions and Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence Applaud Fourth Circuit Decision Upholding Maryland Ban on Military-Style Weapons and Magazines

Federal appeals court holds that Maryland’s 2013 law restricting assault weapons and large capacity magazines is constitutional

Military-style weapons like those used in Newtown and Orlando are ill-suited for self-defense and not protected by the Second Amendment

SAN FRANCISCO, CA—Today, Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS), the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, combat veteran and retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, and its partner organization the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, praised the decision by the full US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit finding that a Maryland law restricting military-style assault weapons and large capacity ammunition magazines is constitutional. The en banc decision declares that such weapons are designed for killing enemies on the battlefield, not for everyday self-defense, and therefore do not fall under the purview of the Second Amendment.

Dangerous military-style firearms with deadly accessories like large capacity ammunition magazines are often the weapon of choice for mass shooters looking to inflict as much carnage as possible. Specifically, the AR-15—a civilian version of the US military’s M-16 rifle—and similar assault weapons were used in the horrific massacres in Newtown, Aurora, San Bernardino, and Orlando. After 20 first graders and six educators were killed with an AR-15 Bushmaster at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012, the Maryland legislature passed the Firearm Safety Act, which prohibited civilian use of assault weapons and large capacity ammunition magazines. The gun lobby challenged the law on constitutional grounds, speciously claiming that the Second Amendment precludes commonsense gun safety measures designed to protect the public from mass shootings.

The litigation experts at the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence teamed up with Marylanders Against Gun Violence and the law firm of Katten Muchin Rosenman to file an amicus brief in this critical case, arguing that the Supreme Court’s landmark 2008 Heller decision specifically supports the reasonable regulation of firearms, including restrictions on assault weapons and other smart gun laws.

“For the first time, a court has definitively ruled that military-style assault weapons and large capacity ammunition magazines are not protected by the Second Amendment, setting an important precedent for public safety,” said Robyn Thomas, executive director of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. “The Fourth Circuit’s decision further confirms what most Americans take to be common sense: weapons of war have no place in our homes or on our streets. These military-style rifles and magazines are designed with a single purpose, and it’s not self-defense—it’s to efficiently kill multiple targets by shooting as many rounds as possible without reloading. The Maryland Firearm Safety Act helps protect communities from gun violence, and we are grateful to the judges of the Fourth Circuit for upholding this essential, lifesaving law.”

Americans for Responsible Solutions and Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence Applaud 11th Circuit Decision Striking Down Florida Gag Law Forbidding Doctors from Talking about Guns

Dangerous state law in Florida attempted to punish pediatricians and other doctors for discussing gun safety practices like safe storage with patients

Court ruled that gun lobby–backed law violated First Amendment rights of healthcare professionals and denied patients lifesaving information

SAN FRANCISCO, CA—Today, Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS), the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, combat veteran and retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, and its partner organization the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, applauded the decision by the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit that struck down Florida’s dangerous medical gag law, backed by the gun lobby, which attempted to levy penalties against physicians for discussing firearm safety with patients.

The presence of a gun in the home has been proven to greatly increase the risk of suicide and unintentional shootings, especially by children, and doctors regularly inquire whether their patients own guns in order to advise them on the importance of storing weapons safely and other basic responsibilities that come with gun ownership. Doctors routinely talk to patients about wearing helmets while riding bicycles, using seatbelts in cars, putting fences around swimming pools, and other common safety issues, but this brazenly unconstitutional law muzzled physicians on gun safety. As a result, the medical community strongly opposed the Florida legislature’s attempt to limit their free speech. The full Eleventh Circuit, overturning a faulty earlier decision, ruled that the Florida firearms gag law unfairly violated the First Amendment rights of doctors, putting patients at unnecessary risk.

The litigation experts at the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence teamed with law firm Munger, Tolles & Olson to file two amicus briefs in this critical case, which were joined by the American Public Health Association, the American Association of Suicidology, and Suicide Awareness Voices of Education.

“Doctors play a vital role in educating people on how to live safe and healthy lives, and their right to speak freely with their patients about gun safety is critical, especially when it comes to educating parents of young children about responsible and safe gun ownership,” said Robyn Thomas, executive director of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. “We’re pleased the Eleventh Circuit forcefully rebuked this unconstitutional, politically motivated law and saw through the gun lobby’s weak argument that gun owners need protection from pediatricians. As the Law Center’s amicus briefs demonstrated, education on the risks of firearms in the home—and the responsibility that comes with owning guns—is essential to preventing the shootings that unnecessarily claim thousands of lives each year.”

 

 

Statement on Leaked “White Paper” that Undermines ATF Investigations and Threatens Public Safety

Washington, DCAmericans for Responsible Solutions, the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Navy combat veteran and NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, and the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence today responded to a leaked “white paper” from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), which outlined a plan for the Trump administration that prioritizes commerce over public safety.

“With more than 30,000 Americans killed every year by guns, the last thing our country needs is the systematic weakening of our existing gun safety laws,” said Americans for Responsible Solutions Senior Policy Advisor and retired 25 year ATF veteran David Chipman. “Turk’s leaked proposal not only contains a number of positions that would endanger both ATF investigative efforts and ordinary Americans, but also indicates regulatory capture by a gun lobby willing to put profits ahead of safety.”

“Despite this administration’s efforts to dictate policy well outside of its jurisdiction, the legal community has already made it clear that it will aggressively confront the administration’s unlawful actions at every turn,” said Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence Executive Director Robyn Thomas. “That same vigilance goes for gun safety, and should the administration act beyond its legal authority to enact these irresponsible and dangerous policies, we will use the courts to hold the administration’s feet to the fire.”

Statement from Americans for Responsible Solutions and the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence on Nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to United States Supreme Court

WASHINGTON, DCAmericans for Responsible Solutions, the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Navy combat veteran and NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, and its sister organization, the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, today opposed President Donald Trump’s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the United States Supreme Court.

“Judge Gorsuch’s views are so outside the mainstream that he has gone out of his way to side with felons over public safety. His irresponsible record indicates he would actually weaken the gun laws on the books and does not reflect the values and priorities of the American people,” said Peter Ambler, Executive Director of Americans for Responsible Solutions. “Americans for Responsible Solutions supports the Second Amendment and the rights of law-abiding gun owners, and we demand a nominee who does the same. The American people want this too: in a survey of voters who voted in the 2016 election conducted by Morning Consult, only 10 percent want America’s gun laws to be less strong, including only 15 percent of Republicans. Judge Gorsuch prioritizes his political agenda over an open-minded, fair interpretation of the law and the safety of our communities, and we strongly oppose his nomination to the United States Supreme Court.”

“For anyone concerned with American public safety, the notion of Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court is a chilling prospect,” said Robyn Thomas, Executive Director of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. “In his time on the Tenth Circuit, he’s made repeated efforts to weaken the federal law that’s prohibited felons from possessing guns for the past 50 years, a law that has saved thousands of lives and enjoys near-unanimous support among Americans and elected officials on both sides of the aisle. Even Justice Scalia, arguably the most conservative Supreme Court justice in modern history, spoke out in favor of reasonable firearms regulation, including the prohibition on felons possessing guns. Gorsuch is such a radical choice that his presence on the court threatens to undermine half a century’s worth of firearms policy and to gravely jeopardize public safety. We have a responsibility to insist on a Supreme Court nominee who will not reject decades of Constitutional law in favor of his ideological agenda.”