Everytown for Gun Safety

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Everytown final logo.png
Formation 2006
Type 501(c)(4)[1]
20-8802884
Purpose Gun control
Headquarters New York, New York
Region
United States of America
Co-chair
Michael R. Bloomberg
Co-chair
Thomas M. Menino
Subsidiaries Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America
Affiliations Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund
Revenue (2012)
$4.9 million[1]
Expenses (2012) $4.7 million[1]
Mission To support efforts to educate policy makers, as well as the press and the public, about the consequences of gun violence and promote efforts to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.
Website everytown.org[1]
Formerly called
Mayors Against Illegal Guns
Congressman Jim Moran speaking at an event for Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

Everytown for Gun Safety is an American nonprofit organization which advocates for federal, state and local laws intended to prevent gun violence. Everytown was founded in 2014, combining Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.[2] It has 2.5 million members.[3]

The organization works to “support efforts to educate policy makers, as well the press and the public, about the consequences of gun violence and promote efforts to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.”[1] Most recently the group has focused on efforts to require expanded background checks on firearms purchases.[4][5]

Origin[edit]

Mayors Against Illegal Guns was formed in April 2006 during a summit co-hosted by mayors Michael Bloomberg of New York City and Thomas Menino of Boston at New York's mayoral residence, Gracie Mansion.[6][7] Bloomberg and Menino co-chaired the coalition.[8] The initial group consisted of 15 mayors who signed a statement of principles.[9] By the end of 2014, there were 855 mayors in the coalition.[5][8][10]

In April 2014, Everytown for Gun Safety was established, merging MAIG with Moms Demand Action.[2] The launch of Everytown occurred nearly one year after the U.S. Senate debated a series of changes to federal gun laws in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting, including a failed amendment, sponsored by West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D) and Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey (R), that would have required background checks for all gun sales taking place at gun shows or over the internet.[3][11] According to Bloomberg, Everytown was founded to match the National Rifle Association in political influence.[2]

Issues[edit]

1) Background checks

The organization advocates for expanding the background check system for gun buyers through changes in state and federal laws, and supports legislation that would require background checks for all gun sales.[12] The organization also supports state laws requiring the reporting of mental health records to the national background check system.[13]

2) Domestic violence

Everytown has supported laws that prohibit domestic abusers from obtaining firearms.[14] Internal research produced by Everytown concludes that states that require background checks for private handgun sales have lower rates of intimate partner gun violence than states that do not require background checks.[15]

According to the group, Everytown supported the passage of laws intended to block convicted domestic abusers and people subject to domestic violence restraining orders in six states in 2014: Louisiana, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.[16]

3) Preventable injuries

The organization supports gun safety technology and laws requiring safe storage of firearms to prevent accidental child gun deaths, citing the high rate of firearm injuries among American children compared to other countries.[17]

4) Gun trafficking

The organization also favors strengthening penalties for gun trafficking through the creation of a federal gun trafficking statute.[18]

5) Other issues

At its launch the organization said it would not advocate for a ban on assault weapons.[19]

Tiahrt Amendment[edit]

Prior to the inception of Everytown, a priority goal of Mayors Against Illegal Guns was to repeal the Tiahrt Amendment, named after its sponsor, Congressman Todd Tiahrt (R-KS). Since its passage in 2003 as an amendment to the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, the Tiahrt Amendment has forbidden the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) from releasing information from its firearm trace database to anyone other than a law enforcement agency or prosecutor in connection with a specific criminal investigation, and any data so released is deemed inadmissible in a civil lawsuit.[20] Rep. Tiahrt has stated that his amendment is intended to protect the privacy of gun owners and to prevent abuse of the data by anyone outside of law enforcement.[21]

Mayors Against Illegal Guns sought the repeal of the Tiahrt Amendment for these reasons:

  • The Tiahrt Amendment restricts access of state and local law enforcement authority to gun trace data, hindering municipal police departments' ability to track down sellers of illegal guns, to investigate gun trafficking patterns, and to make connections between individual gun-related crimes.[22] Mayor Bloomberg has called the Amendment "an insult to the thousands of police officers that face the threat of illegal guns."[23][24]
  • The Tiahrt Amendment requires that NICS background check records be destroyed within 24 hours. According to MAIG, this makes it harder for law enforcement authorities to catch law-breaking gun dealers who falsify their records and makes it more difficult to identify and track down straw purchasers who buy guns on behalf of criminals who wouldn't be able to pass a background check or prohibited purchasers who buy firearms themselves due to errors in the background check process.[24]
  • The Tiahrt Amendment denies the ATF the authority to require dealer inventory checks to detect lost and stolen guns. Under current rules, the ATF can conduct a warrantless search of any licensed gun dealer once per year.[25]

Joining Mayors Against Illegal Guns in supporting the repeal of the Tiahrt Amendment were 10 national law enforcement organizations, including the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the International Brotherhood of Police Officers, the Major Cities Chiefs Association and the Police Executive Research Forum; state law enforcement associations representing 22 states; and individual police chiefs representing 39 states.[26] The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence has pointed out that the ATF under the Bush administration (2001–2008) was unable to produce any evidence that law enforcement officers were harmed by the agency's release of crime gun trace data prior to 2003.[27]

In July 2007, after the House Appropriations Committee rebuffed attempts to repeal the amendment, the Senate Appropriations Committee went further, approving a bill that, according to the New York Times, "threaten[ed] law enforcement officials with prison time for using gun tracing data beyond a specific investigation, say, for identifying and targeting trafficking patterns."[28]

Congressman Tiahrt responded to MAIG's position on his amendment in a congressional statement in 2007:[29]

At issue was a campaign urging repeal of the Tiahrt Amendment, which prohibits the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) from releasing gun trace data to the public. The ATF gun trace database contains investigation-specific information and is made available to law enforcement agencies and prosecutors for criminal investigations. The ATF and the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), the nation’s largest law enforcement organization, support the Tiahrt Amendment and have requested its reauthorization every year since 2003. Both organizations claimed repeal of the Tiahrt Amendment would jeopardize ongoing criminal investigations and risk the lives of undercover law enforcement officers ... The organization Mayors Against Illegal Guns is behind the Tiahrt repeal campaign. The group claims to have the support of numerous police chiefs across the country, which is also misleading according to National FOP President Chuck Canterbury:

"The mayors would have you believe that law enforcement supports giving them the information on gun traces because many of their employees--namely police chiefs, who often serve at the pleasure of the mayor--have publicly backed their coalition,” explained Canterbury. “But the officers in the field who are actually working illegal gun cases know that releasing sensitive information about pending cases can jeopardize the integrity of an investigation or even place the lives of undercover officers in danger. That is why the Fraternal Order of Police has always supported language protecting firearms trace data, now known as the 'Tiahrt amendment.' For the men and women in uniform who are fighting illegal guns, it is a matter of officer safety and good police work."

NY Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the FOP have all requested this language to protect investigations and law enforcement officers. Hopefully it is true that not one law enforcement officer ever died prior to the enactment of the Tiahrt protection—Rep. Tiahrt joins the FOP, ATF and others in supporting a policy that will keep it that way."[29]

Commissioner Kelly, however, has participated in events calling for the repeal of the Tiahrt Amendment.[30] The ATF under the Obama administration has issued no formal position on the amendment. While a Senator, President Barack Obama stated:

"At a time when bloodshed on our streets is on the rise, making sure that our law enforcement officers have all the tools they need to fight crime should be our top priority. But instead of providing those tools, the Tiahrt Amendment ties the hands of police in their effort to halt illegal gun trafficking and sales. I am proud to join the Mayors Against Illegal Guns in their fight against this dangerous legislation. Our communities and the brave men and women who risk their lives everyday to protect us deserve more from Congress."[30]

His administration, however, sought only minor modifications to the amendment during the most recent appropriations cycle.[31]

Programs[edit]

Partnership with Wal-Mart[edit]

In April 2008, Wal-Mart—the largest retailer of firearms in the U.S.—voluntarily adopted a number of new sales practices at the behest of Mayors Against Illegal Guns to "help ensure that guns do not fall into the wrong hands." [32] Senior Vice President J.P. Suarez stated that Wal-Mart signed the 10-point code of the "Responsible Firearms Retailer Partnership" to help the corporation "fine tune the things we're already doing and further strengthen our standards." He added, "We hope other retailers will join us in adopting the code."[33]

The "Responsible Firearms Retailer Partnership" has since become a model for Heeding God's Call, a coalition of faith organizations in Philadelphia that has encouraged local gun dealers to adopt the 10-point code.[34]

No More Names[edit]

No More Names is a program launched on June 14, 2013 (the six month anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting) with the stated purpose to "pass common-sense laws, including comprehensive background checks, that will reduce gun violence and save lives." The program revolves around a bus tour of twenty-five states in one hundred days starting in Newtown, Connecticut. At each stop "gun violence survivors, mayors, faith leaders, and other community members will read aloud the names of Americans killed with guns since Newtown." This is to encourage members of Congress "to pass common sense gun laws."[35]

When the name of Tamerlan Tsarnaev was read aloud at a bus tour event held in Concord, New Hampshire, several in the crowd shouted, "He's a terrorist!" MAIG apologized for the incident after the New Hampshire Union Leader newspaper reported Tsarnaev's name being read.[36] Further inspection found that the list also contained the names of at least ten murder suspects including former LAPD officer turned fugitive Christopher Dorner.[37][38] In response, the group issued a statement explaining that it used a list compiled by Slate.com as its source.[36][37]

MAIG membership[edit]

MAIG membership dropped 15%, from 1,046 to 885, between the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in December 2012 and a count reported in February 2014. NRA president James W. Porter, said "there's very little political will to take on any of these gun issues." Some mayors said the group had moved from being against illegal guns to simply being against guns. MAIG chairman John Feinblatt said the group has the same principles as before and that the membership drop was "just the natural course of events that mayors leave and join our coalition based on the electoral cycle."[39]

Resignations[edit]

Between 2007 and 2009 dozens of mayors reportedly resigned from or distanced themselves from the MAIG while still in office.[40][41][42] The NRA 's web site lists 73 mayors that have quit the MAIG, including 15 in Pennsylvania, alone.[43][44][45][46]

Mayor Mary Wolf of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, said she resigned "because she thought [MAIG] was attempting to erode all gun ownership, not just illegal guns."[47] John Tkazik, mayor of Poughkeepsie, New York who is a member of the NRA and a former member of MAIG resigned, saying he and 50 others also resigned because "MAIG became a vehicle for Bloomberg to promote his personal gun-control agenda - Violating the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens[...] It did not take long to realize that MAIG’s agenda was much more than ridding felons of illegal guns; that under the guise of helping mayors facing a crime and drug epidemic, MAIG intended to promote confiscation of guns from law-abiding citizens. [48]

The NRA has said that MAIG has used mayor's names without permission or were otherwise mis-identified.[49][50][51]

Reaffirmations[edit]

In 2009, at least four mayors issued public statements in reaffirmation of their membership and praise of the coalition, in response to the NRA's letter-writing campaign. One mayor reaffirmed her membership while stating "Nothing that this organization has lobbied for has been to get rid of guns altogether or to take away people’s Second Amendment rights".[51][52][53][54][55][56]

Opposition from the NRA[edit]

In September 2009, the National Rifle Association (NRA) Institute for Legislate Action (ILA) stated that Mayors Against Illegal Guns is not "only concerned with 'illegal' guns" but is actually "anti-gun". The NRA ILA directed members to ask their mayors to resign from MAIG.[57][58][59][60][61] The mailer read, in part, "[NYC Mayor Michael] Bloomberg created MAIG as a front group to lobby Congress to oppose important pro-gun reforms and support new federal gun control restrictions. And [your mayor] has joined this anti-gun Bloomberg crusade. It is critical that your mayor dissociate himself from this anti-gun group and you can do your part by contacting his office and urging him to withdraw his MAIG membership."[62]

In October 2009, NRA spokeswoman Rachel Parsons stated that "the coalition’s participating mayors from both large and small cities dropped from 463 to less than 400" as a result of the NRA's letter-writing campaign.[51] Mayor Bloomberg, however, has said that while 60 mayors have left the organization since the NRA's campaign was launched, another 110 mayors have joined.[46]

Some of the NRA's criticism has included attacks on Bloomberg, MAIG's co-founder. In a cover story of their news magazine America’s 1st Freedom, the NRA has described Mayor Bloomberg as "a billionaire, Boston-grown evangelist for the nanny state" who leads a "cabal."[63] James O. E. Norell, contributing editor, said Bloomberg is "Beholden to nothing except his own ambitions, the mayor has established himself as a kind of national gun-control vigilante."[63] The cover of the issue, according to the New York Times, depicts Bloomberg as a "giant octopus, looking fierce and slightly insane, with serpentine arms swirling behind him".[63]

See also[edit]

  • Wicker Amendment – legislation to allow rail travelers to put legally owned guns in AMTRAK baggage (MAIG opposed this)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e "Everytown for Gun Safety". guidestar.org. 2012. Retrieved February 10, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c Blake, Aaron. "Bloomberg launches new $50 million gun control effort". The Washington Post. Retrieved 10 March 2015. 
  3. ^ a b Richinick, Michele. "The gun control success stories you haven’t heard". MSNBC. Retrieved 10 March 2015. 
  4. ^ Toppo, Greg (2013-12-18). "High-profile gun control groups join forces". USAToday. Retrieved 2013-12-27. 
  5. ^ a b MacKenzie, Drew (2013-12-24). "Bloomberg, Watts Team Up to Demand Tougher Gun Control Measures". Newsmax. Retrieved 2013-12-25. 
  6. ^ Bloomberg, Michael R.; Menino, Thomas M. (2008-06-30). "Some Gun Rules We Can All Agree On". Wall Street Journal (Opinion) (New York). Retrieved 2009-09-11. 
  7. ^ Roig-Franzia, Manuel (2009-08-05). "A Battle of Goliaths: Michael Bloomberg and His Gun Control Group Take on the NRA". Washington Post (Washington, D.C.). Retrieved 2013-12-03. 
  8. ^ a b "Hundreds of Americans Rally In Washington, D.C. To Launch Next Phase In National Fight To Fix Gun Background Check System" (Press release). Washington, D.C.: Mayors Against Illegal Guns. 2013-09-19. Retrieved 2013-12-26. 
  9. ^ "Mayors Against Illegal Guns: Coalition Principles". Mayors Against Illegal Guns. 2006. Retrieved 2007-06-12. 
  10. ^ http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/15-of-michael-bloombergs-anti-gun-mayors-leave/article/2543646
  11. ^ Gregory, David. "10 Questions: The Gun Debate with Shannon Watts". NBC News. 
  12. ^ Peters, Jeremy W. "Bloomberg Plans a $50 Million Challenge to the N.R.A.". The New York Times. Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  13. ^ Daniel, Seth. "Gun Violence Report to Urge Disclosure on Mental Health Records". Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  14. ^ Groch-Begley, Hannah. "Guns Make Domestic Violence Deadlier". Media Matters. Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  15. ^ "STATE BACKGROUND CHECK REQUIREMENTS AND RATES OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOMICIDE". Everytown. 
  16. ^ "New Report Explores How Weak Laws Allow Domestic Abusers and Stalkers to Buy and Keep Guns, Calls on Political Leaders to Close Loopholes to Save Women's Lives". Everytown. Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  17. ^ Cruz, Jennifer. "Everytown, Moms explore ways to prevent accidental shootings involving children". Guns.com. Retrieved 22 March 2015. 
  18. ^ Zadrozny, Brandy. "Mom Gun-Control Group Fights the NRA With Its Own Weapon". Daily Beast. Retrieved 21 March 2015. 
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  20. ^ [1][dead link]
  21. ^ [2][dead link]
  22. ^ Knight, Heather (2007-06-19). "Mayors Fight Gun Measure". San Francisco Chronicle (SFGate.com). 
  23. ^ Viqueira, Mike (2007-07-10). "Mr. Bloomberg Comes to DC". NBCNews.com. 
  24. ^ a b "Mayors Against Illegal Guns - Tiahrt Amendment Facts: History and Effect". Retrieved 2009-09-13. 
  25. ^ "FFL Compliance Inspections". June 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-09-20. 
  26. ^ [3][dead link]
  27. ^ Haile, Elizabeth S. (April 2006). "Without A Trace: How the Gun Lobby and the Government Suppress the Truth About Guns and Crime". Archived from the original on 2006-05-19. 
  28. ^ Editorial (2007-07-17). "Bad and (Maybe) Good News on Guns". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-12. 
  29. ^ a b "Tiahrt Responds to MAIG Campaign of Lies and Distortion". 2007-06-12. Archived from the original on 2008-02-02. 
  30. ^ a b "Members of Mayors Against Illegal Guns Stand with Police Chiefs and Members of Congress to Urge Repeal of Tiahrt Amendment" (Press release). Washington, D.C.: Mayors Against Illegal Guns. 2007-07-10. Retrieved 2013-12-03. 
  31. ^ "Statement by Mayors Against Illegal Guns Co-Chairs on Obama Administration's Reform of the Tiahrt Amendments" (Press release). Washington, D.C.: Mayors Against Illegal Guns. 2009-05-07. Retrieved 2013-12-03. 
  32. ^ "Mayors Against Illegal Guns: Responsible Firearms Retailer Partnership". Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Retrieved 2013-08-16. 
  33. ^ "Wal-Mart and Mayors Against Illegal Guns Announce 'Responsible Firearms Retailer Partnership'" (Press release). Washington, D.C.: Mayors Against Illegal Guns. 2008-04-14. Retrieved 2013-08-16. 
  34. ^ "Heeding God`s Call - A Gathering on Peace | Heeding God’s Call". Peacegathering2009.org. Retrieved 2013-08-16. 
  35. ^ staff. "No More Names". Retrieved 18 August 2013. 
  36. ^ a b Buckland, Tim (June 20, 2013). "Apology issued for naming of Boston bomber as a victim of gun violence at Concord rally". New Hampshire Union Leader. Retrieved June 21, 2013. 
  37. ^ a b "California Cop Killer Dorner Included on List of Gun Victims Used by Bloomberg Group". NY Daily News. 2013-06-20. Retrieved 2013-06-26. 
  38. ^ Coppins, McKay (June 20, 2013). "Bloomberg Group Named Christopher Dorner, Other Murder Suspects On List Of Gun Violence 'Victims'". BuzzFeed. Retrieved June 20, 2013. 
  39. ^ Bedard, Paul (2014-02-07). "15% of Michael Bloomberg's anti-gun mayors leave". Washington Examiner. 
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  44. ^ Venugopal, Arun (2009-11-23). "NRA Fights Back Against Bloomberg's Gun Control Coalition". WNYC. Retrieved 2013-08-16. 
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  48. ^ Tkazyik, John (2014-02-05). "Valley View: Mayoral group's gun agenda is wrong". Poughkeepsie Journal. Retrieved 10 February 2014. ... under the guise of helping mayors facing a crime and drug epidemic, MAIG intended to promote confiscation of guns from law-abiding citizens 
  49. ^ "Mayor: Anti-gun group misused my name". Medina, Ohio: Medinagazette.northcoastnow.com. 2009-09-26. Retrieved 2013-12-03. 
  50. ^ Folco, Marc (2009-10-11). "Open Season: Legislation looks harmless, but MAIG presents mayor problem". New Bedford, Massachusetts: SouthCoastToday.com. Retrieved 2013-08-16. 
  51. ^ a b c Blandford, Laurie K. (2009-10-12). "Port St. Lucie’s mayor defends membership in Mayors Against Illegal Guns group". Stuart, Florida: TCPalm.com. Retrieved 2013-08-16. 
  52. ^ Sepia (2009-10-01). "NRA off the mark: The gist: The gun lobby is wrongly targeting mayors' group on public safety.". OrlandoSentinel.com. Retrieved 2013-08-16. 
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  55. ^ [5][dead link]
  56. ^ Associated Press (2009-10-15). "Western Mass. mayors taking heat from NRA for membership in Mayors Against Illegal Guns". MassLive.com. Retrieved 2013-08-16. 
  57. ^ "Mayor stands up to NRA pressure - The Item - South Carolina". Retrieved 2009-09-15. [dead link]
  58. ^ "Edler notes NRA pressure to quit Mayors Against Illegal Guns | Yakima Herald-Republic Online". Retrieved 2009-09-15. 
  59. ^ Kelly, Niki; Lanka, Benjamin (2009-09-13). "Henry resists heat from NRA". Fort Wayne, Indiana: Journal Gazette. Retrieved 2009-09-15. 
  60. ^ "Is Mayor Haslam against illegal guns or not? | KnoxViews". Retrieved 2009-09-15. 
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  63. ^ a b c Cardwell, Diane (2007-04-15). "N.R.A. Covers Bloomberg, and Results Aren’t Pretty". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-12-03. 

External links[edit]