A Message from the President of Americans Against Gun Violence

Valentine’s Day School Massacre in One of our “Safest Cities”

On February 14, 2018, a 19 year-old former student armed with an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle shot and killed 17 students and staff and wounded at least 14 others at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Parkland had been rated as one of Florida’s two safest cities, and the 15th safest city in the entire country.

In an interview on the PBS News Hour on the evening of the shooting, Ronald Stephens, Executive Director of the National School Safety Center, described the Broward County school district, which includes Parkland, as being on the “cutting edge” of preparedness to respond to a mass shooting. PBS News Anchor Judy Woodruff also interviewed Broward County Commissioner and past Parkland Mayor, Michael Udine. Mr. Udine stated that there is a police officer routinely stationed at the school. In additional news coverage on February 15, Broward County School Superintendent Robert Runcie confirmed that two police cars were typically at the high school campus on a daily basis.

The mass shooting on Valentine’s Day at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School demonstrates that in a country in which youth are murdered by guns at a rate that is 82 times higher than the rate for youth in other high income democratic countries, even a school that is located in one of the “safest cities” in the country - and that is “on the cutting edge” of preparedness to respond to a mass shooting with at least one police officer present at all times - is not safe for our children.

There is no mystery as to why these mass shootings keep happening on a regular basis in our country, nor is there any mystery as to what we need to do to stop them....

Read the full message

Preventing Firearm Related Deaths and Injuries in the United States of America
Mission Statement of Americans Against Gun Violence

Firearm related deaths and injuries are a serious public health problem in the United States of America, and the rate of gun violence in the USA is much higher than in all other economically advanced democratic countries. It is the position of Americans Against Gun Violence that we have not only the ability, but also the moral responsibility, to reduce rates of firearm related deaths and injuries in our country to levels that are at or below those in the other economically advanced democratic countries of the world.

We support incremental steps toward reducing gun violence in the United States such as expanding background checks. At the same time, we believe that it is critically important to make the American people aware that in order to reduce rates of firearm related deaths and injuries in the United States to levels comparable to those in other economically advanced democratic countries, we must adopt comparable gun control laws. Such laws include stringent regulations, if not complete bans, on civilian ownership of handguns and all automatic and semi-automatic rifles. Such laws need not prevent responsible hunters and target shooters from practicing their sports with traditional sporting rifles and shotguns. In order to stringently regulate or ban handguns, the Supreme Court's radical reinterpretation of the Second Amendment in the 2008 Heller decision must be overturned. We further believe that stringent regulation of civilian firearm ownership should be accompanied by stringent regulation of the use of lethal force by law enforcement officers.

In addition to educating the American people regarding the need for the adoption of definitive gun control laws, it is our mission to debunk the myths promoted by the gun industry and its associated lobby, including the myth that honest, law-abiding people should own or carry guns “for protection;” the myth that the Second Amendment was intended to confer an individual right to own guns; and, the most insidious myth of all, that the gun lobby is more powerful than the rest of the American people.

We are confident that one day the United States will adopt stringent gun control laws comparable to the laws already in place in every other economically advanced democratic country of the world. The only question is how many more innocent Americans will be killed and injured by preventable gunshot wounds before that day arrives. It is our mission to work to make that day come sooner rather than later.

Click on this link for downloadable version of this mission statement in PDF format.