Category Archives: Public Policy

Progress for Gun Violence Prevention in 2014 Election

A candlelight vigil follows the Virginia Tech mass shooting in 2007.
A candlelight vigil follows the Virginia Tech mass shooting in 2007.

In addition to the victory for universal background checks in the Washington State initiative, there were other bright spots for gun violence prevention in the recent mid-term elections. According to Tim Daly at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, supporters of sensible gun policies won both large and small victories. Here’s part of Daly’s recap:

Gun Safety Groups Took A Giant Leap Towards Political Power Parity with the NRA in 2014.

The NRA will have spent more than $31 million on this year’s federal elections, far exceeding their roughly $8 million 2010 spending – where they out-spent gun safety groups by more than 5-to-1.

This year, however, gun safety groups – Washington Gun Responsibility, Americans for Responsible Solutions, Everytown Action Fund (WA), and Independence USA PAC — nearly matched the NRA’s spending, allotting more than $30 million to pass the successful ballot measure and support gun safety candidates around the country.

 In Governors and US Senate Races, Background Checks Helped Supporters.

Incumbent governors who signed the nation’s most sweeping post-Sandy Hook gun laws all won reelection. The strongest laws passed after Sandy Hook, were Colorado, Connecticut, New York’s. In all three states incumbent Democratic governors appear to have won reelection. In Colorado, Governor Hickenlooper appear to have overcome a challenging wave in his state outperforming Senator Udall by 4 points. In Connecticut, Governor Malloy was reelected, in a race where both gun lobby and gun safety groups spent seven figures.

Senators who voted for background checks won about as many races as those who voted No. Despite an unfavorable map and a wave election, Senators who voted yes on Manchin-Toomey performed well. 26 of this year’s Senate races featured incumbent Senators who were in office in April 2013 and voted on the Manchin-Toomey measure: 13 Yes votes and 13 No votes. 10 the 13 Senators who voted Yes were reelected, and that may become 11 if Sen. Landrieu wins a run-off election; meanwhile 11 of the 13 Senators who voted No. Meanwhile, pre-election surveys showed that background checks vote helped Senators who voted Yes.

In 2016, Geography and Demographics will be Much More Favorable for Supporters of Strong Gun Laws.

Voters of Color. Voter turnout among African-American, Latino and other voters of color is generally lower in midterm elections. This year, 75% of the electorate was made up of white, non-Hispanic voters, up from a 28% share in 2012. However, 2016 is likely to be the first election in American history where white, non-Hispanic voters are expected to make up less than 70% of the electorate. Support for common sense gun laws is strong among non-white voters: a 2013 poll of Latino voters found that 85% of respondents supported universal background checks. Among African American voters, recent polls show that 84% support universal background checks.

Single Women. Since 2000, the share of single women voting in elections has been growing. This year single women made up 22% of voters, up from 21% in 2010. Participation by single women is higher in Presidential years and in 2016, single women about a quarter of voters in 2016. Polls show that women care about the gun issue: in fact, almost all (93%) women support background checks for all gun purchases.

Young voters. Millenial voters are projected to increase by 4 million per year until 2018. By 2016, millenials are projected to represent one-third of all eligible voters. The gun issue is a key one to help drive turnout of millennial voters: according to a 2013 poll, 70% of respondents under the age of 30 agreed that “the gun culture in our society has gotten out of control” and 92% supported background checks for all gun sales.

Votes for Gun Safety

victory in WA DE copyDepending on your party or politics, yesterday’s election results can be viewed in a variety of different lights. But if you care about responsible solutions to gun violence, one thing is clear:

When given a choice, voters favor sensible gun safety laws.

That’s what happened in Washington State when ballot initiative I-594, expanding background checks to all gun sales, passed by a comfortable margin. The initiative movement started after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings—and gained steam when Washington state legislators failed to act to close the gun-show loophole. Despite (or perhaps because of) fierce NRA opposition, Washington voters took matters into their own hands and won a huge victory.

What does this show us?

  • I-594 was the only up-or-down vote on background checks this election cycle – and proved  that when Americans vote on common-sense public safety measures, gun safety wins.

  • The win in Washington shows elected officials in DC that if they don’t take action to prevent gun violence, Americans will take matters into their own hands. 

  • It also proves that while the gun lobby can bully politicians, they can’t bully the American people. 

It’s worth noting that Delaware’s legislature did not fail to act. It passed universal background checks and required reporting of lost or stolen guns during the 2013 session. DeCAVG will be active in the next legislative session, seeking additional common-sense approaches to the problem of gun violence in Delaware.

 

PRESS ADVISORY: Press Event Launching Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence and Delaware Polling Data on Public Support for Proposals

WHO: Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence
General Assembly Members
Special Guests

WHAT: Press Event Launching Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence and Delaware Polling Data on Public Support for Proposals

WHEN: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 1:15 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.

WHERE: Senate Hearing Room, Top Floor, Legislative Hall, Dover, DE

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The Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence’s (DeCAGV) goal is to prevent gun violence in Delaware by promoting sensible gun laws and addressing the root causes of gun violence. DeCAGV is a statewide coalition of parents, teachers, clergy, grandparents, nurses, friends, gun owners, and like-minded groups and institutions. Together we will forge a large and strong public voice of Delawareans working to reduce gun violence. For further information, visit www.decagv.org.

NEW COALITION URGES SUPPORT OF HOUSE BILL 35 REQUIRING CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK FOR ALMOST ALL SALES OF FIREARMS

Wilmington, Delaware – The Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence (DeCAGV) announced its support today for House Bill 35, a bill which would require criminal background checks for almost all sales of firearms. The bill is scheduled for a hearing before the State House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, March 13, 2013.

The bill, sponsored by nineteen legislators (prime sponsors: Representative Valerie Longhurst and Senator Harris McDowell), is a critical step forward in modernizing Delaware’s gun laws. Delaware has the weakest gun laws in the region. Too many people are dying or being injured due to gun violence, including the recent tragedies on the soccer field in Wilmington, at the New Castle County Courthouse, at Dover’s Whatcoat Apartments, and at law enforcement officers’ homes in Sussex County.

Currently, federally-licensed firearms dealers are required to perform criminal history background checks on firearms purchasers. However, when the sale or transfer of a firearm does not involve a licensed dealer, no background check is required. National estimates suggest that as many as 40% of gun sales occur outside of federally-licensed gun shops where there is no background check; this is a huge loophole which allows criminals, minors and other prohibited persons to purchase guns.

House Bill 35 would require that a criminal history background check be performed in connection with the sale or transfer of all firearms, with limited exceptions. Background checks would be performed by licensed firearms dealers, who are already required to conduct a background check whenever they sell a firearm or when requested by private parties.

Following in the footsteps of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the Brady Campaign and former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, DeCAGV is working to share the view of many Delawareans that one can support the second amendment and demand sensible gun laws.

DeCAGV will be formally announcing its formation and platform on Tuesday, March 19, 2013 at 1:15 in Legislative Hall in Dover. Further information to follow.

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The Delaware Coalition Against Gun Violence’s (DeCAGV) goal is to prevent gun violence in Delaware by promoting sensible gun laws and addressing the root causes of gun violence. DeCAGV is a statewide coalition of parents, teachers, clergy, grandparents, nurses, friends, gun owners, and like-minded groups and institutions. Together we will forge a large and strong public voice of Delawareans working to reduce gun violence. For further information, visit www.decagv.org.