WASHINGTON – Following the White House announcement that President Obama will deliver remarks in the East Room tomorrow to announce steps that the administration will take to reduce gun violence, Everytown for Gun Safety released the following statements from Everytown Chair and former Mayor of New York Michael R. Bloomberg, Everytown President John Feinblatt, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, and Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
STATEMENT FROM EVERYTOWN CHAIR AND FORMER MAYOR OF NEW YORK, MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG
“President Obama’s decision to clarify and enforce the law requiring more gun sellers to conduct background checks is an important victory for public safety and a setback for criminals and gun traffickers. With Congress still ducking the issue of gun violence, the President and Vice President Biden are standing up and taking action. I thank them for listening to the voices of everyday Americans, who are helping to advance common sense gun safety policies in cities and states around the country.”
STATEMENT FROM JOHN FEINBLATT, PRESIDENT OF EVERYTOWN FOR GUN SAFETY
“Today the President took an important step by moving beyond the gridlock of Congress to take executive action and clarify that those in the business of selling firearms must be licensed and conduct background checks. This will put traffickers on notice that they will have to comply with the law. Law enforcement will no longer have to fly blind when it comes to who and what qualifies as being engaged in the business of selling firearms, and as a result our cities and communities will be safer in the future.”
STATEMENT FROM SHANNON WATTS, FOUNDER OF MOMS DEMAND ACTION FOR GUN SENSE IN AMERICA
“Today President Obama literally answered the calls of moms, gun violence survivors, community leaders, and every day advocates across the country who worked tirelessly to support the President in taking meaningful action to prevent gun violence. Guns are no longer a third rail issue—the President demonstrated tremendous leadership today and now we turn to all of our political leaders – particularly those in state legislatures across the country – to take action to close the loopholes that make it easy for dangerous people to get guns. The New Year is starting with significant momentum – with the President’s executive action and later this month when Moms nationwide start heading to their statehouses, not to mention in November, in an election where Americans will vote for candidates and ballot measures that will save lives from gun violence. 2016 will be the Year of Gun Safety.”
STATEMENT FROM BOSTON MAYOR MARTIN J. WALSH, MEMBER OF MAYORS AGAINST ILLEGAL GUNS
“As Mayor of a city that’s at the forefront of this issue, I welcome these measures and I thank President Obama for his leadership. The White House is standing with us as we work to make our communities safer, and federal leadership is essential because we know that guns move across city and state lines, from legal ownership to criminal possession and in exchange for cash and often drugs. The President’s action will complement the work mayors are doing across the country, and I look forward to continuing this strong partnership as we work to end gun violence in the United States for good.”
Tomorrow, gun violence prevention leaders, policy experts and nearly forty members of the Everytown Survivor Network from across the country will be in Washington, D.C. to be part of a meeting with the President where he will announce the executive actions.
MORE INFORMATION ON EXECUTIVE ACTIONS:
- Last month former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Everytown President John Feinblatt met with President Obama and shared recommendations for executive action on guns.
- In November 2015, Everytown released Business As Usual, an undercover investigation of federal prosecutions and online gun sales that showed how President Obama can take executive action to reduce gun violence by clarifying the unclear definition of which gun-sellers are “engaged in the business” of selling firearms.
- In November 2015, Everytown also ran ads (viewable here) in Washington, D.C. taxis featuring hidden-camera footage of gun sales by unlicensed sellers at gun shows without background checks. The ads closed with a call for President Obama to take executive action on gun violence.
- In October 2015, Everytown released Beyond Gridlock report recommending more than a dozen life-saving steps the White House can take to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. These recommendations included clarifying what it means to be ‘engaged in the business’, improving how the background check system works and instructing federal law enforcement to identify and arrest dangerous criminals who try to buy illegal guns and notify state and local authorities when these illegal purchases are attempted.
- Everytown, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, the Everytown Survivor Network and other partner organizations gathered more than a million petition signatures and took part in a National Call-In-Day that generated more than 15,000 calls urging the Administration to take executive action to reduce gun violence.
- In December 2013, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, now part of Everytown, released In the Business, Outside the Law, research that found nearly one in three gun ads on the website Armslist.com were posted by high-volume unlicensed sellers, many of whom are likely “engaging in the business”—at a rate wherein these sellers would transfer nearly 250,000 guns per year.
- In August 2009, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, now part of Everytown, released the Blueprint for Federal Action on Illegal Guns, which recommended that the Department of Justice should adopt a legal test for whether an individual’s firearms sales, by virtue of volume and other indicators, constitutes being “engaged in the business.”
GUN VIOLENCE SURVIVORS JOINING PRESIDENT OBAMA ON TUESDAY AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEW:
Stephen Barton – New York
Stephen was shot with 25 rounds in the face, neck, chest, and arms during the Aurora movie theater shooting in July 2012. Stephen was on a cross-country biking trip with one of his friends, when they stopped in Aurora to visit a friend of theirs. After the shooting, Stephen postponed a Fulbright Scholarship to teach English in Russia in order to work on his recovery and for Everytown. He then completed his Fulbright Scholarship in Russia and now works for New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
Abbey Clements – Connecticut
Abbey is a survivor of the Sandy Hook School shooting on December 14, 2012, which took the lives of 20 first graders and six educators. She was a second grade teacher who was able to keep her students safe before the police arrived.
Sarah Clements – Connecticut
Sarah’s mom, Abbey Clements, is a second grade teacher who survived the Sandy Hook school shooting on December 14, 2012. Sarah is a sophomore at Georgetown University and a youth leader in the gun violence prevention movement.
Cynthia Dawkins – District of Columbia
Cynthia Dawkins’ youngest son, 24 year-old Timothy Delonte Dawkins, was caught in the crossfire of a shooting in Southeast Washington, DC on August 21, 2013. He was caught in the crossfire and killed. Timothy was a mentor to other young men in the community and had aspirations to complete a degree in Political Science from the University of the District in Columbia. Cynthia holds an MSW degree and works as a mentor to adults in addition to her work as an activist.
Colin Goddard – District of Columbia
Colin was shot and injured in the mass shooting at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007, in which 32 classmates and faculty were killed. The shooter had been adjudicated mentally ill and was prohibited from buying firearms, but his mental health records had not been submitted to the background check database, so he was able to purchase a gun from a licensed dealer. Colin has become one of the leading advocates for gun violence prevention and is currently a Senior Policy Advocate at Everytown for Gun Safety.
Elvin Daniel – Illinois
Elvin’s sister, Zina Daniel Haughton, was shot and killed by her estranged husband on October 21, 2012 at a salon and spa in Brookfield, WI. Radcliffe Haughton was issued a restraining order days before the shooting and was therefore a prohibited purchaser. Haughton connected with a private seller through Armslist.com who was not required to run a background check before selling the gun. Haughton purchased an FNH .40 caliber semiautomatic handgun that he used the next day to kill Zina and two other women, and injured four more, before committing suicide. Elvin lives in Illinois and is a gun owner and member of the NRA.
Jane Dougherty – Colorado
Jane Dougherty’s sister, Mary Sherlach was the school psychologist killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on December 14, 2012. Mary, along with Principal Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung, rushed the gunman in an attempt to save her students.
Dave Hoover – Colorado
Dave’s nephew, Alexander “AJ” Boik, was shot and killed during the Aurora movie theater shooting on July 20, 2012. Dave is a law enforcement officer, hunter and gun owner.
Theresa Hoover – Colorado
Theresa’s son, Alexander “AJ” Boik, was shot and killed during the Aurora movie theater shooting on July 20, 2012.
Christopher Hurst – Virginia
Christopher’s girlfriend of nine months, Allison Parker, was shot and killed while reporting on air for WDBJ7 News on August 26, 2015 in Moneta, Virginia. Chris and Allison had just recently moved in together.
Nardyne Jeffries – District of Columbia
Nardyne’s daughter, Brishell Jones, age 16, was shot and killed along with three other teenagers after attending the funeral of gun violence victim when men in a passing car opened fire on with an AK-47.
Sara Kerai – District of Columbia
Sara’s husband is a survivor of the shooting at the Navy Yard on September 16, 2013. She works as a bereavement counselor.
Clai Lasher-Sommers – New Hampshire
Clai was shot in the back at the age of 13 by her abusive stepfather on January 17, 1990. She went on to establish a domestic violence shelter and rape crisis center in upstate New York. She has returned to her home state of New Hampshire where she continues to advocate for stronger gun laws and domestic violence awareness.
Uma Loganathan – Virginia
Uma’s father, Professor G.V. Loganathan, was murdered in the mass shooting at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007, along with 31 of his fellow faculty and students.
Patricia Maisch – Arizona
Patricia Maisch was present during the shooting at Rep. Giffords’s Congress on your Corner event at a Safeway grocery store in Tucson, AZ on January 8, 2011. Pat helped disarm the shooter by grabbing his second magazine clip when he paused to reload. She has testified before the Senate Crime Subcommittee in support of closing loopholes in the background check system.
Richard Martinez – California
Richard’s 20-year-old son, Christopher Michaels-Martinez, was one of six people shot and killed in the Isla Vista mass shooting on May 23, 2014 near the campus of UC Santa Barbara, CA. Christopher was a skilled and fiercely competitive basketball player. Richard has been traveling the country speaking out in support of state and federal elected officials who stand up for common sense gun laws and carrying forward his message that “Not One More” person be taken by senseless gun violence. Richard is currently a Senior Associate at Everytown for Gun Safety.
Lucy McBath – Georgia
Lucy’s son, Jordan Davis was shot and killed at a gas station in Jacksonville, Florida on November 23, 2012 during an argument over loud music. The shooter used Florida’s dangerous ‘Stand Your Ground’ law as his defense. After a mistrial, the shooter was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. Lucy is on staff at Everytown for Gun Safety and was previously a volunteer national spokeswoman for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
Jacob and Darchel Mohler – Nevada
Jacob and Darchel Mohler are the parents of 13-year-old Brooklynn Mae Mohler, who was at a friend’s home when she was unintentionally shot and killed with an unsecured gun on June 4, 2013. Darchel and Jacob founded the Brooklyn Mae Mohler Foundation to raise awareness about responsible gun storage.
Andy and Barbara Parker – Virginia
Andy and Barbara’s daughter Alison Parker, age 24, was shot and killed on live television while reporting live for WDBJ7 News along with her cameraman on August 26, 2015. The gunman was a disgruntled past employee who later took his own life. Since their daughter’s death, Andy and Barbara have been doing “Whatever it Takes” to put in place common sense gun laws in our country to save lives, including leading a rally for gun safety in Washington, D.C. in September and publicly supporting gun sense candidates in the Virginia State Senate elections this past November.
Nate and Cleo Pendleton – Illinois
Nate and Cleo’s daughter Hadiya was shot and killed in January 2013, just days after she participated in President Obama’s second inaugural celebration. She was a high school honor student and a band majorette at King College Prep High School in Chicago.
Peter Read – Virginia
Peter’s daughter, Mary Read was shot and killed during the mass shooting at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007, along with 31 of her classmates and professors. Peter is a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel.
Judi and Wayne Richardson – Maine
Judi’s and Wayne’s 25-year-old daughter, Darien, was shot several times during a home invasion while asleep in her bedroom on January 8, 2010. She spent 20 days in the hospital and later died from complications caused by her injuries. The police could not trace the gun because it was later sold at a gun show without a background check. Judi and Wayne are citizen sponsors of the 2016 Maine ballot initiative requiring background checks on all gun sales.
Rev. Sharon Risher – Texas
Rev. Sharon Risher’s mother Ethel Lance, and cousins Susie Jackson and Tywanza Sanders, were shot and killed on June 19, 2015 at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC. The shooter was able to purchase the weapon because his background check was not completed after three days, even though his criminal history should have prohibited him from buying a firearm. Rev. Risher is a trauma chaplain at Parkland Hospital in Dallas, TX.
Coni Sanders – Colorado
Coni’s father, Dave Sanders, was the teacher and girls’ basketball coach killed at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999. As a result of her experience with gun violence, Coni now works with domestic violence offenders.
Diane Sellgren – Minnesota
Diane survives both her husband and daughter, who have each committed suicide with a gun. In both cases, her husband and daughter were depressed and had a history of mental illness.
Pam Simon – Arizona
Pam was Rep. Gabby Giffords’s Community Outreach Director and attended the Congress on Your Corner event on January 8, 2011. She was shot in the chest and hand and survived. Pam recently retired, and prior to working as Rep. Giffords’s Community Outreach Coordinator, was a middle school teacher.
Erica Lafferty Smegielski – Connecticut
Erica’s mother, Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung, was the school principal killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting along with five other educators and 20 first graders on December 14, 2012. Erica is currently a Senior Outreach Associate at Everytown for Gun Safety.
DeAndra Yates – Indiana
DeAndra’s 13-year-old son, DeAndre, was struck by a stray bullet at a birthday party on February 1, 2014. The shooter was never caught. DeAndre survived, but can no longer walk or talk and he is in therapy to try to regain these basic skills.
Jenna Yuille – Oregon
Jenna is the daughter of Cindy Yuille, who was killed by a masked gunman armed with a semi-automatic assault rifle in a mall in Clackamas, Oregon on December 11, 2012. The shooter fired more than 60 rounds, killing Cindy and another man and critically wounding a third individual, before taking his own life.