NEW YORK – Yesterday, Everytown for Gun Safety, and its grassroots networks Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, held a virtual press conference outlining gun safety legislative priorities for 2024 and what’s at stake in the year ahead.
Joined by New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, Maine State Senator Anne Carney and New Mexico State Representative Andrea Romero, Angela Ferrell-Zabala, Executive Director of Moms Demand Action and Monisha Henley, Senior Vice President for Government Affairs at Everytown for Gun Safety discussed upcoming efforts to build on the progress of 2023, when the gun violence prevention movement passed over 130 gun safety laws, more than any other year in history. These gains were made possible by the tireless advocacy of grassroots volunteers, including Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action volunteers.
In 2024, Everytown for Gun Safety and its grassroots arms will be focused on passing life-saving gun safety policies in all 50 states, including legislation to ban assault weapons, from the federal GOSAFE Act, to first-in-the-nation legislation introduced in New Mexico, as well as legislation to ban assault weapons in Maine, Virginia, Hawai’i, Rhode Island and Colorado. Everytown’s efforts in 2024 in those states will also include:
- In Virginia, Everytown is fighting to ban untraceable ghost guns, assault weapons, and rapid-fire devices, require gun owners to securely store their firearms, increase pathways to accountability for bad actors in the gun industry, provide robust funding for community violence prevention programs, and prevent domestic abusers from accessing guns. This work is made possible by the incredible gains the gun violence prevention movement has made to elect gun-sense candidates in Virginia, flipping the House of Delegates in the process. Moms Demand Action volunteers now make up 20% of the caucus.
- In Maine, through partnerships with legislative champions like Senator Anne Carney, efforts are focused on passing a comprehensive crisis intervention law and comprehensive background checks.
- In New Mexico, gun-sense legislators are already hard at work to pass legislation that would raise the age to purchase a semi or fully-automatic firearm from 18 to 21 as well as legislation to require a 14-day waiting period on gun sales and a bill to close the dangerous Charleston loophole which allows gun purchases to move forward by default after three business days—even if a background check has not been completed.
New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham spoke about the importance of building on the gun safety laws already on the books in New Mexico by passing an assault weapons ban at the state level:
“This makes everyone safer, this makes our children safer … Recently, in Farmington, we had an 18 year old who, when he turned 18, had access to a weapon of war and shot in his neighborhood, killing some and injuring many others. It’s untenable. We have other laws in place … but all of the safeguards didn’t prevent this issue – we have to do all of them, not just one of them.”
New Mexico State Representative Andrea Romero spoke about her legislation to ban gas-operated semi automatic guns, legislation modeled after Senator Martin Heinrich’s federal GOSAFE Act:
“This is a completely new approach, this is the first time that we’re doing this in the nation. Being able to look at weapons, when we look at some of the case law and how it is we’re looking at regulating weapons that are unusually dangerous and highly deadly. We’re looking at the mechanics of a weapon and how we can regulate, rather than the cosmetics.”
Maine State Senator Anne Carney spoke about the need to take comprehensive action in the wake of the Lewiston mass shooting to protect our communities and prevent future tragedies:
“Every minute of every day, Mainers continue to feel the impact of the October 25th mass shooting. From the absence of a loved one at the breakfast table to the struggle to rebuild a business … In the next few months, we will pass impactful gun safety legislation. Reaching effective solutions requires building a broad and dynamic coalition, and listening to everyone, most especially the powerful voices of Mainers all across our state who have contacted their Senators and Representatives to advocate for gun safety legislation.”
Monisha Henley, Senior Vice President for Government Affairs at Everytown for Gun Safety, spoke about the importance of passing gun safety laws at the state and federal level:
“When we win, it’s not just a victory under our belt – winning means we’re closer to a future free from gun violence and we have the data to prove it. 300,000. That’s enough people to fill America’s largest NFL stadium three times. That’s also how many lives we could save over the next decade if every state had the same gun death rate as the states with the strongest gun violence prevention policies … We’re hitting the ground running in 2024 and the partnerships we talked about today are critical to delivering the relief and safety our communities are demanding. Together, we can make it happen.”
Angela Ferrell-Zabala, Executive Director of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, spoke about the monumental gains the gun safety movement has made in Virginia, and how our victories represent a sea-change in what was once the NRA’s home turf:
“Last November, Virginians voted with gun safety in mind, and flipped the House of Delegates to establish a gun sense majority in both chambers in Richmond. And you know who makes up nearly 20% of this newly flipped, Virginia House Majority caucus? Moms Demand Action volunteers. We’re talking about the state that used to be the NRA’s stronghold. Now, these newly elected leaders are getting to work and pushing gun safety laws and we’re standing by them every step of the way.”
Shantell Rock, a volunteer with the Virginia chapter of Moms Demand Action, spoke about the impact of electing gun-sense candidates in Virginia, and the opportunity we have to pass comprehensive gun safety legislation in the Commonwealth in 2024:
“This success allows us to make real progress in passing common-sense gun violence prevention policies like passing an assault weapons ban, requiring secure gun storage, disarming domestic abusers, and investing in community violence intervention programs. The legislature is in the process of moving many of these bills as we speak, and we are hopeful they will make it to the Governor’s desk.”
To speak with an expert or volunteer about Everytown for Gun Safety’s legislative efforts in 2024, please contact: [email protected]