An Open Letter to the Fraternal Order of Police:
August 22nd, 2017
Fraternal Order of Police
Dear President Canterbury:
When Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action joined forces in 2013 with the singular goal of reducing gun violence and building safer communities in America, we understood that to pass laws that will help prevent gun violence, we would need to work on both sides of the aisle and with a variety of partners who agree that common-sense gun safety laws can save lives.
Since our inception, Everytown and Moms Demand Action have proudly worked hand in hand with the brave men and women in law enforcement to enact gun safety laws on the state and federal level. Along the way, local and national law enforcement has played a critical role in advancing shared gun safety priorities in states like Nevada, Alabama, and Texas. Their commitment extends to the national level, where law enforcement has spoken out against dangerous bills like Concealed Carry Reciprocity, which would put police and first responders at increased risk by requiring each state to recognize the concealed carry permits from other states, even states with much weaker public safety standards.
But like all partners, we hold different perspectives, viewpoints and experiences that sometimes lead us to take different actions. This past weekend we were troubled to learn that former Tulsa, Oklahoma, police officer Betty Shelby, who shot and killed an unarmed black man, Terence Crutcher, was reportedly asked to play a role at the FOP’s upcoming convention. We believe the inclusion of former officer Shelby is a gesture that will only inflame the divisions that exist between communities of color and law enforcement – two groups that are critical to the goal of ending gun violence in America at a particularly sensitive moment in our nation’s history.
We represent a movement made up of moms, first responders, physicians, educators, survivors of gun violence and other constituencies united in the shared goal of ending gun violence. Given the circumstances of his death, the killing of Terence Crutcher has particular resonance to us and to our membership of gun violence survivors and dedicated volunteers.
For that reason, Everytown and Moms Demand Action have decided not to participate in the FOP’s conference.
We are committed to continuing to work with the law enforcement community, including the leadership and members of the FOP, to find solutions to the epidemic of gun violence that ravages our country, disproportionately impacts communities of color, and puts police and other first responders at increased risk. We hope that you can understand our need to ensure that the judgment of our supporters guide our decision making, just as your members’ views help guide your organization’s.
We look forward to continuing to work closely with the first responders who put their lives on the line to protect our communities every day in our shared mission of reducing gun violence.
Everytown for Gun Safety