All Three Recipients Have Advocated for Common-Sense Gun Safety Laws, Been Long-Time Gun Sense Champions
Award Will Be Presented at Gun Sense University, an Annual Training Summit Attended By More than 2,000 Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action Volunteers and Gun Violence Survivors
The Summit Comes Amidst a Historic Year for Gun Safety, Fueled by Hundreds of Thousands of Supporters Taking Action Across the Country
NEW YORK — Everytown for Gun Safety, Moms Demand Action, and Students Demand Action announced today that Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, New York State Senator Zellnor Myrie, and the Biden-Harris Administration will be awarded the local, state, and federal Gun Sense Lawmaker of the Year Awards at Gun Sense University (GSU). Domestic Policy Advisor Susan Rice will accept the award on behalf of the Administration and give the keynote address.
The Gun Sense Lawmaker of the Year award recognizes elected officials who have shown unparalleled leadership on gun safety. Grassroots movements can not do it alone; whether at the federal, state, or local level, elected officials have the ability and responsibility to pass legislation and create programs that curb gun violence and support survivors. The first award was given to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in 2020 for leading the House of Representatives Gun Sense Majority, which in 2019 passed several major gun safety bills for the first time in more than twenty years.
“You can’t have common-sense gun safety laws without uncommonly committed lawmakers,” said John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety. “Everytown is honored to count the recipients of this year’s Gun Sense Lawmaker of the Year awards as partners in the growing movement to address America’s gun violence crisis.”
“These lawmakers prove that when we elect gun sense leaders, we get gun safety results,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “Across the country and in all levels of government, our grassroots movement has supported and fought alongside these leaders and we’re proud to award them with the Gun Sense Lawmaker of the Year awards for their continued leadership and innovative solutions to address the gun violence epidemic.”
Each awardee has been a gun sense champion for years. In 2021 alone, the Biden-Harris Administration has cracked down on untraceable ghost guns, unlocked billions of dollars for proven violence interruption programs, and is taking on the gun traffickers that are flooding our cities with guns, which are then used in crimes. This session, Senator Myrie led the charge to pass a first of its kind bill aimed at holding bad actors in the gun industry accountable, as well as the announcement of a suite of summer gun violence prevention strategies aimed at addressing the devastating uptick in gun violence in New York. Mayor Whaley led mayors from across the country to lobby lawmakers in DC after the mass shooting in Dayton in 2019, and as an active member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, continues to advocate for gun safety, including in her current role as President of the US Conference of Mayors.
Gun Sense University brings together gun violence prevention movement leaders from every state to share best practices, participate in training sessions about effective organizing and prepare for the crucial gun safety work ahead. The sessions include how to best engage survivors, utilizing shared identities to shape the movement, and the importance of authentic partner relationships.
In addition to the Lawmakers of the Year, the event will also feature John Feinblatt, president of Everytown for Gun Safety, Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, gun violence survivors, community partners including the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and National Police Accountability Project, and panels featuring Students Demand Action leaders, State Representatives Jo Ella Hoye (KS), Mariela Ruiz-Angel (NM), Vanessa Atterbeary (MD), St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones, and Special Assistant to the President for Criminal Justice and Guns Policy Chiraag Bains.
The weekend will also feature special messages from Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT); Representatives Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Lucy McBath (D-GA), Joe Neguse (D-CO), and Marie Newman (D-IL); Mayors Brandon Scott (Baltimore), Sam Liccardo (San Jose), and Jane Castor (Tampa); and Governor Phil Murphy (New Jersey).
Last year was one of the deadliest years on record for gun violence, with an estimated 19,300 people killed in gun homicides or non-suicide-related shootings, and devastating gun violence has continued into 2021. Gun suicide, domestic violence and police violence have also continued. Heeding the call for action to save lives, the Biden-Harris Administration prioritized gun safety, and statehouses across the country used the 2021 legislative sessions to enact common-sense gun safety policies, invest in gun violence prevention, and reject gun lobby priorities.
For more information about GSU programming or are interested in interviewing with volunteers and gun violence survivors around the summit, please don’t hesitate to reach out.