Saturday, November 21, 2015

Gun Safety Update

NRA-Backed Legislator: We Can’t Take Syrian Refugees Because It’s Too Easy For Them To Buy Guns.
A Texas state legislator wants the U.S. to stop allowing Syrian refugees into the country. His reasoning: They might be able to buy guns in his state.

Rep. Tony Dale (R) made this argument in a television interview on Monday and in letters to Texas’ U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz (R) and U.S. Reps. Michael McCaul and John Carter (R).

“While the Paris attackers used suicide vests and grenades,” Dale wrote, “it is clear that firearms also killed a large number of innocent victims. Can you imagine a scenario were [sic] a refugees [sic] is admitted to the United States, is provided with federal cash payments and other assistance, obtains a drivers license and purchases a weapon and executes an attack?” He urged the lawmakers to “do whatever you can to stop the [Syrian refugee] program.”

But Dale is one of the Texas legislature’s most fervent gun-rights advocates. Two weeks ago, he tweeted his National Rifle Association membership renewal. In accepting an “A” rating from the group and the Texas State Rifle Association’s PAC in 2012, he observed: “Perhaps no right is more fundamental than the right to keep and bear arms.” And his campaign website vows his fealty to the Second Amendment, saying it “isn’t just an archaic document,” a “guarantor of all of our other freedoms.” And he and his colleagues in the state legislature have blocked mandatory background checks for all gun purchases.

This not the first time Dale has raised concerns about non-citizens in Texas. “I’m not saying all of these people are bad, but there are certainly people from countries of concern,” he said in March, explaining the need for legislation to create special drivers licenses for “foreigners.”

The NRA frequently claims that restrictions on gun purchases are unnecessary because “criminals don’t legally purchase firearms.” But in reality, a comprehensive analysis by Mayors Against Illegal Guns found that most guns used in recent mass shootings were purchased legally.

While those applying for refugee status must complete “the most stringent security process for anyone entering the United States,” those attempting to purchase guns through private sales at gun shows in Texas and many other states are not required to undergo any background checks whatsoever. Virtually none of the millions of refugees admitted into the United States since 1980 have become terrorists, but the U.S. leads the world in mass shootings — almost all of which are perpetrated by people born in America.
How Mitch McConnell can make Americans safer
Tell Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell:
“Take real action to protect American lives by helping pass a package of gun control legislation that includes closing the NRA-backed terror gap that allows known terror suspects to purchase guns.”

Stop the NRA
After last week’s attacks on Paris and Beirut, Republican politicians launched hateful attacks against Muslims and called for xenophobic restrictions on refugees — all allegedly in the name of keeping Americans safe.

To date, the right-wing Republicans in Congress have not taken up any reasonable proposal to protect our communities from senseless domestic terrorism. But there is something that Republicans can actually do to make us all safer — pass a comprehensive package of gun control reforms, including a bill to close the NRA-backed terror gap which has allowed more than 2,000 people on the terror watch list to purchase guns since 2004.1

Yes, you read that right. People on the terror watch list are barred from getting on airplanes, but Republicans are perfectly happy with them buying assault rifles.
It’s outrageous that Republicans are eager to fearmonger and race bait on behalf of our safety but have so far refused to do anything to combat an epidemic of gun violence that kills more than 33,000 Americans every year. With their hypocrisy currently in the media spotlight, it’s time to ramp up the pressure on them to finally act.

Tell Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: Act to make us safer. Bring real gun control legislation to the floor for a vote. Click here to sign the petition.
The xenophobic policies offered up by Republicans in the wake of the Paris and Beirut attacks are simply jaw-dropping:
  • Presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz suggested bombing innocent civilians in the Middle East.2
  • Twenty-six Republican governors have vowed, without any legal authority, to block Syrian refugees from their states.3
  • Presidential candidate Jeb Bush joined Cruz in proposing that we block Syrian refugees based on religion — admitting Christian but not Muslim refugees.4
  • The House passed a bill this week requiring the FBI director, the secretary of Homeland Security and the director of National Intelligence to personally sign off on every refugee from Syria or Iraq.5
These policies are especially offensive in light of the fact that there is legislation that Congress could pass right now to actually reduce gun violence. The Senate could:
  • Close the terror gap by allowing the Department of Justice to block guns sales to anyone on the terror watch list. Between 2004 and 2014, more than 2,000 people on the list purchased guns in the U.S.
  • Close the loophole that allows people to buy guns without undergoing background checks through private sales, at gun shows and online. An estimated 40 percent of all firearms transferred in the U.S. are transferred by unlicensed individuals not required to conduct background checks on buyers.6
  • Ban convicted domestic abusers and stalkers from buying guns. Abused women are five times more likely to be killed by their abuser if that individual has access to a firearm.7
  • Prohibit the manufacture of assault weapons and large capacity magazines for civilian use.
If Republicans really want to protect Americans, it’s clear what they need to do: break their blind allegiance to the NRA and pass gun control legislation. But they’ll never act unless we force them. Can you add your voice today?

Tell Senate Republican leaders: Act to make us safer and pass real gun control legislation. Click the link below to sign the petition:

CREDO Action from Working Assets Add your name:
Sign the petition ►

Tell President Obama you support executive action on background checks

Sign our petition to President Obama supporting an executive action that would close the loophole that allows unlicensed dealers to sell large numbers of guns without conducting background checks.

As many of you know, the law identifies two groups of gun sellers:

1. Those "engaged in the business" of selling firearms. If a gun seller falls into this category, they must become a licensed gun dealer and conduct a background check for each gun sale.

2. Private sellers. If someone fits into this category, there is no requirement to conduct a background check.

The problem that we want the president to fix is this: There are many people who sell large numbers of guns but still don't become licensed dealers and perform background checks because there is no clarity for what it means to be "engaged in the business." President Obama can change that, and in doing so make it more difficult for criminals and the dangerously mentally ill to buy guns without a background check.

Today, 98% of Americans live within 10 miles of a federally licensed gun dealer where background checks are required, yet up to 40% of gun sales are completed by "private sellers" with no background check at all. It's a glaring loophole in our law that is made worse as more and more guns are sold online.

President Obama can change that, but he needs to know that you're with him.

Sign our petition to President Obama supporting an executive action that would close a loophole that allows individuals to sell large numbers of guns without performing a background check.

Shortly after the United States Senate filibustered bipartisan background checks legislation two years ago, Gabby stood outside of the White House with President Obama when he made this promise to America:

"I want to make it clear to the American people we can still bring about meaningful changes that reduce gun violence, so long as the American people don't give up on it. Even without Congress, my administration will keep doing everything it can to protect more of our communities." - President Obama

President Obama can act, "even without Congress," and he would be well within the law to define what it means to be "engaged in the business." An executive order on this issue would protect the rights of responsible gun owners while making our communities safer.

But he needs to know you're with him if he's going to take executive action and save lives. Sign our petition.

Thank you for making your voice heard on this important issue.

Do you want to beat the NRA where it matters most right now?

Then make a donation of $25 or more to help defeat them in Maine.

In Maine, we have a chance to take matters into our own hands and pass a ballot measure that will close the background check loophole.

It's a move that will send shockwaves through the leadership ranks of the NRA. Because they know that if they keep losing state by state, the national tide will turn against them.

We only have until January to collect the 61,123 signatures we need to put background checks on the 2016 ballot in Maine. Can you donate $25 to support the fight against the NRA in Maine and help turn the national tide?

The majority of gun owners and NRA members support background checks. But NRA leadership has ignored them time and again. So it's about time we take them on together.

Here are some examples of what your gift can help accomplish:
  • $25 can cover tanks of gas for organizers to drive town to town collecting signatures
  • $50 can provide walk lists and clipboards for organizers to knock on hundreds of doors
  • $75 can help volunteers make calls to get voters to signature gathering events
  • $100 can help us reach every corner of the state and get this done
Every dollar helps volunteers and organizers achieve these goals and reach more voters.
Just last year, we won background checks at the ballot in Washington. And if we win this fight in Maine, we can set the stage for the rest of the country.

Donate now to keep the NRA's influence out of Maine, and put gun sense solutions in the hands of people like you and me.

Thanks for being part of this effort.

And, here is letter to us all from Judi Richardson:

My daughter Darien was shot and killed 5 years ago, and I've been advocating for stronger gun laws ever since. Now, our efforts are heating up in my home state of Maine.

We're trying to get an initiative on the 2016 ballot that would require background checks for ALL gun sales in Maine. But we only have a few months to collect 61,123 signatures, and we need your help to make it happen.

Will you help me honor my daughter's memory by bringing change to my state, and our country? Make a donation of $25 today to support this fight.

Background Checks Can Save Lives
When Darien was murdered, I promised to do everything in my power to make sure no one else felt my pain. And background checks are the best way to do that.

The gun used to kill Darien was sold without a background check, so this fight is personal for me. As I watch volunteers out in the cold collecting signatures, I know she would have been proud.

We know that one law won't stop all gun violence, but background checks can help save lives by keeping guns out of dangerous hands. So it's on us to do what our elected officials could not: Enact common-sense gun laws.

Donate $25 or more today to help bring gun sense to Maine.

Thank you for standing with us.

Judi Richardson


  1. Closing the Terror Gap in Gun Background Checks,” Everytown for Gun Safety, July 21, 2015.
  2. Judd Legum, "In Response To Paris, Ted Cruz Calls For Airstrikes With More ‘Tolerance For Civilian Casualties’,", November 13, 2015.
  3. Sarah Frostenson and Dara Lind, “Here's a map of every state refusing to accept Syrian refugees,”, November 18, 2015.
  4. Amy Davidson, “Ted Cruz’ Religious Test for RefugeesNew Yorker, November 16, 2015.
  5. Camila Domonoske, “House Votes To Increase Security Checks On Refugees From Iraq, Syria,” NPR, November 19, 2015.
  6. Universal Background Checks & the “Private” Sale Loophole Policy Summary ,” Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, September 10, 2015.
  7. Gabby Gifford, National Domestic Violence Prevention Leaders Applaud New House Legislation to Keep Guns out of the Hands of Abusers,” Americans for Responsible Solutions, July 22, 2015.