Despite Continued Gun Violence in the Keystone State, Republicans in the House and Senate Have Refused to Take Action on Common-Sense Gun Safety Legislation
Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund Also Unveiling New Digital Ad Slamming Pennsylvania Republicans for Opposing Common-Sense Gun Safety Measures
In 2020 Everytown Will Elect Gun Sense Majorities in Both Chambers, Repeating Success in Virginia’s 2019 Elections
PHILADELPHIA — Today, Everytown for Gun Safety Victory Fund (“Everytown Victory Fund”) announced that it will spend at least $1 million between now and November 3 to flip both chambers of the Pennsylvania legislature to a gun sense majority. Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund also unveiled a new digital ad, “Refused to Act: Pennsylvania,” which slams Pennsylvania lawmakers for blocking gun safety measures, like background check and extreme risk legislation, and asks Pennsylvanians to support gun sense candidates in 2020. Governor Wolf and Attorney General Josh Shapiro have been outspoken on the need for gun violence prevention in the state, but instead, lawmakers have advanced legislation that puts communities at risk.
“Pennsylvania legislators should have paid attention to last year’s elections in Virginia, where lawmakers who ignored gun safety suffered a resounding defeat,” said John Feinblatt, head of Everytown for Gun Safety Victory Fund. “Instead, they stuck to the same playbook of blocking common-sense gun laws at every turn. Now, time is up, and anyone who chose the gun lobby’s agenda over the safety of their community will answer for it on Election Day.
“Voters have made clear that gun safety is a top issue heading into the November election,” said Charlie Kelly, senior political advisor for Everytown for Gun Safety Victory Fund. “Our investment in flipping both chambers of the legislature will give constituents the action on gun violence they’ve been demanding. Just as we saw in Virginia in 2019, Pennsylvania has a chance to make historic progress with candidates who refuse to kowtow to the gun lobby.”
“We gave our legislators ample time to show us they would take action on gun safety, but they have repeatedly failed us,” said Marybeth Christiansen, a volunteer with the Pennsylvania chapter of Moms Demand Action. “By choosing inaction, lives have been cut short and communities rocked by continued shootings. Enough is enough — we’re taking our fight to the ballot box to flip both chambers to gun sense majorities.”
Republicans currently hold a nine seat majority in the Pennsylvania state House and a four seat majority in the state Senate. In order to elect gun sense majorities in both chambers, Everytown Victory Fund will target districts across the Commonwealth, from western portions of Pennsylvania, to the capitol region, to northeast Pennsylvania, including suburban seats around Pittsburg, southeast Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley.
INITIAL OFFENSIVE DISTRICT TARGETS: SD-013, SD-015, SD-031, SD-047, SD-049; HD-013, HD-018, HD-026, HD-028, HD-030, HD-044, HD-049, HD-104, HD-105, HD-106, HD-120, HD-131, HD-144, HD-147, HD152, HD-160, HD-176, HD-189
In 2018, Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund spent more than $250,000 to help re-elect Governor Tom Wolf. In 2019, Everytown was the largest outside spender in Virginia’s state legislative elections, helping flip Virginia’s General Assembly to a gun sense majority after lawmakers failed to pass common-sense gun safety measures following the shooting in Virginia Beach. The 2020 Pennsylvania effort will seek to replicate the success of Virginia’s 2019 elections, and will include aggressive paid media and grassroots efforts led by nearly 400,000 Moms Demand Action supporters in Pennsylvania.
In February, Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund and Victory Fund announced they would spend at least $60 million on the 2020 elections, including in races up and down the ballot in Pennsylvania. In April, Everytown and Students Demand Action announced the launch of Pennsylvania’s new Students Demand Action Virtual Field Office, focused on registering young voters virtually.
Polling from Everytown released earlier this year found that the majority of voters in Pennsylvania support stronger gun safety laws:
Voters in Pennsylvania support stronger gun laws by a 9:1 margin
78% of voters consider a candidate’s position on guns “very important” to their vote in 2020
A majority of voters say they would never vote for a candidate who doesn’t support background checks on all gun sales, putting the issue on par with health care and national security in voters’ minds.
Further, nearly 60 % of voters are less likely to vote for a candidate who opposes a red flag law (58%); 70% are less likely to support someone who stands in the way of background checks for all gun sales.