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.”
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.”
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 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.”
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 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.”
Washington, DC—Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Navy combat veteran and NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, the co-founders of the gun violence prevention organization Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS), and ARS’s partner organization the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence issued the below statement on today’s tragic mass shooting at Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport.
STATEMENT FROM CONGRESSWOMAN GABRIELLE GIFFORDS AND CAPTAIN MARK KELLY
“Today’s tragic shooting in Ft. Lauderdale is another painful reminder of our nation’s gun violence crisis. We are incredibly grateful to the first responders who acted so bravely this afternoon to save lives and bring this tragedy to an end. We mourn for those taken today, and pray for those who were injured.
“We wish we could say we lived in a country where people could go to an airport without facing the fear of gun violence. We cannot let this horror become normal. Our country is better than this.”
ABOUT FLORIDA’S GUN LAWS
Florida has some of the worst gun laws in the nation, regularly scoring an F in the Law Center’s annual Gun Law State Scorecard. It fails to require background checks for private sales, does not require gun dealers to obtain a state license, has incredibly weak standards for allowing people to carry concealed guns in public, and even bars doctors from speaking about firearm safety with their patients. Learn more about gun laws in Florida at smartgunlaws.org/FL.
In the four years since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook, 42 states have passed over 160 new smart gun laws.
Data-driven comparison of state gun laws shows a strong correlation between responsible laws and fewer gun deaths.
7 states receive A-range grades; 25 states earn Fs for weak gun laws
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, the leading national resource for tracking and analyzing our nation’s gun laws, released its annual Gun Law State Scorecard (gunlawscorecard.org), which ranks each state based on the strength of its gun laws.
The 2016 Gun Law State Scorecard reveals a strong correlation between smart gun laws and lower gun death rates. States with the weakest laws, like Mississippi and Alaska (ranked 50 and 44 out of 50), have some of the highest gun death rates in the nation (4 and 1, respectively). Meanwhile states with stronger gun laws like California and Massachusetts (ranked 1 and 4 out of 50) have some of the lowest gun death rates in the country (43 and 50, respectively), showing that commonsense solutions like universal background checks are saving lives from gun violence in states across the country.
This year, we witnessed the deadliest mass shooting in American history, when a gunman opened fire in an Orlando nightclub, killing 49 and wounding 53 more. The renewed national attention to this issue added many more necessary voices of support to the ever-growing movement for smart gun laws.
- Remarkable momentum for smart gun laws at the state level: In the four years since 20 children and six educators were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School, lawmakers in 42 states and Washington DC have passed over 160 new smart gun laws.
- Gun-safety ballot initiatives won big on Election Day: Voters in California, Nevada, and Washington sidestepped a Congress paralyzed by the gun lobby’s grip by enacting comprehensive gun safety laws at the ballot box.
- Support for domestic violence gun safety legislation continues to grow: Since women in domestic violence situations are five times more likely to be killed if their abuser has a gun, state lawmakers have strengthened laws that keep guns out of abusers’ hands. In 2016, six states passed laws preventing domestic abusers from accessing firearms—even in states with some of the weakest gun laws like Tennessee and Virginia.
- Defeat of campus-carry bills: The gun violence prevention movement scored major defensive victories by standing up against irresponsible legislation that would allow hidden, loaded weapons to be carried on college campuses. Activists defeated dangerous guns-on-campus bills in 17 states, including a veto from the governor of Georgia.
“The 2016 Gun Law State Scorecard, as in years past, showcases the simple but compelling evidence that is the foundation of the work we do: by enacting smart gun laws, we can significantly reduce gun death rates and safeguard our communities. Our experts have done the research, and the evidence speaks for itself,” said Robyn Thomas Executive Director of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. “This comprehensive analysis of each state’s gun laws and their impact serves as an invaluable tool to lawmakers, activists, and concerned citizens who want to take action in their own communities. We’re extremely proud to bring them the latest insights on the gun violence crisis to propel their efforts.”
The Law Center was proud to work on the front lines in the battle for smart gun laws in 2016. Law Center attorneys drafted ballot language for California’s Proposition 63, the “Safety for All” initiative, wrote the model law Washington state used as a guide for its Extreme Risk Protection Order ballot initiative, worked with ARS to craft policy solutions for President Obama’s executive actions on guns, and partnered with legislators and activists in states across the country to pass bold new gun laws.
Legal experts from the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence are immediately available for interviews about the 2016 Gun Law State Scorecard, the remarkable progress made at the state level since Sandy Hook, and any other issues regarding our nation’s gun laws.
Explore the 2016 Gun Law State Scorecard at gunlawscorecard.org.
Taskforce, formed with Americans for Responsible Solutions and Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, represents new strategy in a new political climate for gun violence prevention movement
Law firms committed to devoting hundreds of lawyers, thousands of hours, and millions of dollars to effort
NEW YORK, NY—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, announced a bold new effort with seven top law firms, as well as the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the Brennan Center for Justice, to fight gun violence. This new effort, the Firearms Accountability Counsel Taskforce (FACT), will be devoted to pursuing legal strategies to address America’s dire gun violence crisis and hold the gun industry responsible for unfair business practices that endanger public safety.
The law firms have committed hundreds of lawyers, thousands of hours, and millions of dollars to this effort, which will operate in tight coordination with ARS and the Law Center’s team of gun law experts. To date, FACT is comprised of Arnold & Porter; Covington & Burling; Dentons; Hogan Lovells; Munger Tolles & Olson; O’Melveny & Myers; and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.
FACT’s strategy represents a turning point for the gun violence prevention movement. With the gun lobby spending a record $30 million in the presidential election to support Donald Trump, more than any other special interest, and an additional $20 million in 2016 Congressional races, achieving progress at the federal level has grown all the more challenging. By expanding the fight beyond Congress, which has failed to take meaningful action to save the more than 33,000 lives lost every year to gun violence, and into the justice system, FACT will be able to push back against the special treatment the gun industry has enjoyed for decades.
FACT’s strategy builds off the success of pro bono efforts by the private bar to commit leadership, support, and resources to ensure a more just, fair, equal, and safe society.
FACT’s areas of focus will include:
- Congressional restrictions on firearms-related information access
- Misleading gun industry public statements, advertising, and marketing
- Special immunity enjoyed by gun manufacturers and dealers
- Laws that prevent local officials from keeping communities safe from gun violence
- Dangerous, gun lobby-backed laws that make ordinary conflicts potentially deadly
“As our nation’s gun violence crisis claims over 33,000 American lives every year, the gun lobby has intimidated Washington into inaction,” said Congresswoman Giffords and Captain Kelly. “As gun owners, we know we can protect our rights and make our families safer, and that’s why we’re so excited to join with the top litigators and law firms in our country to form the Firearms Accountability Counsel Taskforce. Together, we will stand up to the gun lobby and put the safety of our communities above corporate profits.”
“As our firm and the private bar have shown, the only effective means of remedying an intractable social injustice in the face of concerted resistance is through an innovative legal strategy and the investment of substantial resources,” said Brad Karp, chair of Paul, Weiss, a key law firm partner in the Firearms Accountability Counsel Taskforce. “Working with several of our country’s leading law firms and our partners at Americans for Responsible Solutions, the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, the Brady Campaign, and the Brennan Center, we intend to mount a strategic response to address the gun violence epidemic that will be as well-resourced, coordinated, and forceful as the opponents’ efforts to avoid accountability have been. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have died needlessly because of gaps in our gun laws, and it’s time for the legal community to stand up and take collective action to address the plague of gun violence tearing apart our families and our communities.”
“The gun violence prevention movement has experienced tremendous momentum since the horrific shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary four years ago,” said Robyn Thomas, executive director of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. “We’ve passed more smart gun laws in more states than ever before, we’ve won more ballot initiatives than ever before, and we’ve enjoyed more public support than ever before. Now, with the Firearms Accountability Counsel Taskforce, the movement is taking another major leap forward. The unprecedented commitment our law firm partners are making to this effort—hundreds of lawyers, thousands of hours, and millions of dollars—will be a game-changer in the fight for smart gun laws.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 1, 2016
Minnesota Coalition for Common Sense & Local Business Leaders Call on Minnesota Lawmakers to Reduce Gun Violence, Release New Report Highlighting the Economic Cost of Gun Violence on Minnesota
Gun Violence Costs Minnesota’s Economy Over $764 Million Each Year
New Report Urges Minnesota to Seize Opportunity to Reduce Gun Violence, Address Shortcomings in Federal & State Laws That Enable Dangerous Individuals to Buy Guns Without a Background Check
ST. PAUL, MN – Today the Minnesota Coalition for Common Sense and local business leaders called on Minnesota lawmakers to reduce gun violence in wake of a new report that examines the cost of gun violence on Minnesota. The report, which was co-authored with Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS), the gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, retired combat veteran and NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, and its partner organization the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, highlights the economic cost of gun violence on Minnesota’s economy and the state’s business community.
The new report, “The Economic Cost of Gun Violence in Minnesota: A Business Case for Action,” is being released as Minnesota continues to grapple with a gun violence crisis that costs the state over $764 million each year. The report also found that gun violence costs Minnesota over $50 million annually in lost business opportunity.
The report comes on the heels of Congresswoman Giffords and Captain Kelly’s visit to Minnesota earlier this year to launch the “Minnesota Coalition for Common Sense, a bipartisan coalition – which includes leaders from across sectors – that has urged the state’s elected officials to advance policies that reduce gun violence.
The report outlines several key steps Minnesota’s legislators can take to address gun violence. These steps include:
- Closing Background Check Loopholes. Minnesota currently does not require criminal background checks on all gun sales. This loophole lets felons, domestic abusers and the dangerously mentally ill buy guns in Minnesota without a background check.
- Investing in the Community – Addressing Environmental Risk Factors. Gun violence thrives in areas where environmental conditions – such as abandoned lots and unsafe public parks – leave communities feeling disempowered. By investing in programs that reclaim public space for community use and clean up abandoned properties in impacted communities, Minnesota can reduce violence while also creating social and economic opportunity for local communities.
- Supporting Community-Based Violence Intervention Programs. Proven community-based intervention strategies can effectively address gun violence in at-risk populations, including young men of color who live in underserved neighborhoods. By establishing programs that connect at-risk youth to badly needed social services and creating hospital based intervention programs that use case managers to reduce the probability of violence by and against impacted individuals, Minnesota can achieve a substantial decline in violence.
“As a business owner in Saint Paul, I’ve seen our state’s gun violence crisis first hand, and was forced to relocate my business after numerous shootings made my employees and customers feel unsafe,” said Ingrid Christensen, a member of the Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and President of INGCO International. “I know our leaders can do more to keep guns out of dangerous hands and make Minnesota safer. That’s why so many of my fellow Minnesotans – including business owners like me – support responsible proposals that will reduce gun violence. Today, we’re standing together and demanding commonsense change because we have a responsibility to leave to our kids and grandkids a state and country that is safer from gun violence.
“As someone who has been involved in the Saint Paul business community for nearly two decades, I’ve seen how our gun violence crisis has negatively impacted our businesses and our state’s economy. Shootings unleash fears that keep potential customers away and force businesses to relocate or limit their hours of operation,” said Jim Flaherty, a member of the Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce and Owner of Allegra and Image360. “When it comes to reducing gun violence, we know what works and saves lives. What we need now is for other business leaders to stand up, speak out and demand action. We simply cannot afford to maintain the status quo in the face of this costly, destructive epidemic.
“In the face of a gun violence crisis that leaves over 900 Minnesotans dead or injured every year, Minnesotans are demanding action from their leaders that makes their communities safer,” said Peter Ambler, Executive Director, Americans for Responsible Solutions. “We thank the Minnesota Coalition for Common Sense and members of the Minnesota business community who have used their voice to urge their elected officials to keep guns out of dangerous hands and save lives. In the coming months, we look forward to working with the Minnesota business community to help make Minnesota a safer place to live and work.”
“This report will be an invaluable resource for Minnesotans seeking to better protect their communities from the devastating impact of gun violence,” said Robyn Thomas, Executive Director, Law Center. “Our comprehensive—and importantly, quantifiable—review of the hundreds of millions of dollars gun violence costs Minnesota’s economy and business community each year reveals the scope of the problem while also providing legislators with the concrete, commonsense policy solutions they need to enact real, lasting change. Working in collaboration with the Minnesota Coalition for Common Sense and Americans for Responsible Solutions, we have the powerful opportunity to bring lifesaving smart gun laws like universal background checks to a state that so desperately needs them.”
The resource is the latest publication by ARS and the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, which joined forces in March 2016 to create powerful new force for gun safety legislation, research, education, communications, and advocacy under the leadership of Congresswoman Giffords and Captain Kelly, the leading voices in the movement to keep guns out of the wrong hands and help save lives from gun violence.
ABOUT AMERICANS FOR RESPONSIBLE SOLUTIONS’ WORK IN MINNESOTA
Building Support for Gun Violence Prevention in 2016 Through Advocacy: During the state legislative session, ARS’s advocacy arm launched a direct mail program to build support in key districts for background checks for all gun sales. And in February 2016, Congresswoman Giffords and Captain Kelly traveled to Minnesota to launch the “Minnesota Coalition for Common Sense,” a new bipartisan coalition – which includes leaders from across sectors – to urge the state’s elected officials to advance background checks and other policies that reduce gun violence.
Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS) is committed to finding sensible ways to reduce gun violence and encouraging elected officials to enact responsible firearms policies that protect the Second Amendment. Founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and retired Navy combat veteran and NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, today ARS stands more than 800,000 strong. Learn more at www.responsiblesolutions.org and follow us at @Resp_Solutions.
Founded in the wake of a 1993 assault weapon massacre in San Francisco, 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, 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 @smartgunlaws.
Connect with Gabby Giffords, Mark Kelly, and ARS:
The Ruling Comes on the Eve of Congresswoman Giffords’ Events in Newtown, Connecticut, Tomorrow
WASHINGTON, DC—Americans for Responsible Solutions, the 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 responded to the dismissal by Connecticut State Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis of a lawsuit against gun manufacturer Remington Arms brought by parents of children killed at the tragedy at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Connecticut, in December 2012. In her ruling, Judge Bellis cited the gun manufacturer immunity legislation the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) as grounds for dismissal.
The ruling comes on the eve of Congresswoman Giffords’ visit to Newtown, Connecticut, tomorrow, Saturday, October 15.
“This is the result of legal immunity for the gun industry: Grieving parents and other victims are denied access to the courts and denied an opportunity for a fair hearing,” said Peter Ambler, Executive Director of Americans for Responsible Solutions. “Virtually no other industry enjoys this special protection from accountability. PLCAA is an outrageous giveaway to the firearms industry, a giveaway that virtually no other industry enjoys. It is past time for this irresponsible and unfair law to be overturned.”
“Congress has granted unprecedented protection to the gun industry, thanks to the gun lobby’s destructive grip on Washington,” said Robyn Thomas, the Executive Director of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, which merged with Americans for Responsible Solutions in March 2016. “Claiming to protect one right, the gun lobby has infringed on another: the right to have your day in court. The dismissal of the Newtown families’ case doesn’t mean their claims lack merit—it means that our system is rigged in favor of the gun industry and our leaders refuse to hold the manufacturers of deadly weapons of war accountable for the carnage they wreak in our communities, on our streets, and even in our first-grade classrooms. PLCAA is a disgrace that Congress must repeal.”
Learn more about PLCAA: http://smartgunlaws.org/gun-laws/federal-law/other-laws/immunity-statutes
Garrett McDonough, 415.433.2062 x304, [email protected]
Study shows most states rely on “honor system” for felons to give up their guns when convicted.
In California alone, more than 3,200 people a year illegally keep guns after conviction, many later using those guns in crimes and costing the state $285 million each year.
Firearms relinquishment laws close this gap and create a mechanism for courts to collect guns upon conviction—yet barely any states have these laws.
SAN FRANCISCO, CA—Today the legal experts at the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence released a comprehensive, first-of-its kind report on a glaring and too often overlooked gap in America’s gun laws: firearms relinquishment. Americans overwhelmingly agree that it is common sense to prevent dangerous people from accessing deadly weapons—yet most states lack any sort of mechanism to actually confirm that felons and other prohibited people give up their guns upon conviction. The Law Center’s new report, Keeping Illegal Guns Out of Dangerous Hands: America’s Deadly Relinquishment Gap, analyzes relinquishment laws in all 50 states and identifies best practices lawmakers can adopt to save lives from gun violence.
Firearms relinquishment laws are critical in the fight to keep Americans safe from shootings, ensuring that those convicted of serious crimes simply turn in, sell or otherwise rid themselves of their weapons after conviction. In California, law enforcement reported that in 2014 alone, more than 3,200 people kept their guns after a new criminal conviction, many of whom went on to commit crimes with those guns. Relinquishment laws would stop this.
Keeping Guns Out of Dangerous Hands also reveals:
- States often rely on the honor system to manage the relinquishment process, trusting violent criminals and other prohibited people to voluntarily turn in their weapons.
- It costs taxpayers millions of dollars each year—$285 million in California alone—when prohibited people like violent felons are picked up on weapons charges and subsequently incarcerated, and many return to prison because they kept their guns illegally.
- Only five states provide any statutory process for disarming people prohibited from having guns—Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania.
“The law is clear that once you are convicted of certain crimes, you’re simply not allowed to have a gun. Yet 45 states don’t have a process in place to ensure that dangerous individuals actually turn in their firearms,” said Robyn Thomas, executive director of the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. “Relinquishment laws solve this problem by requiring all convicted felons to verify that they have transferred or sold their guns. These laws save lives, impose little burden, and enforce the laws already on the books.”