In 2016, the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence (LCPGV) partnered with Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS), the organization founded by former US Representative Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly. Congresswoman Giffords was critically wounded in 2011 in a mass shooting in which six people were killed and thirteen other people were wounded. Due to the severity of her brain injury, Congresswoman Giffords probably plays only a symbolic role in ARS. Americans Against Gun Violence has serious concerns about counterfactual statements, particularly with regard to the Second Amendment and the issue of guns for protection, in the book, Enough, which lists Giffords and Kelly as co-authors, but which is written in Kelly's first person voice "with Harry Jaffe." Mr. Jaffe, in fact, may have been the principle author.
While LCPGV has done very important work in the past, including filing an amicus brief in the DC versus Heller case and in helping craft and pass good gun laws and defeat bad ones, Americans Against Gun Violence is concerned about the effect that the partnership with ARS may have on LCPGV's objectivity.
As an example of our concerns, the LCPGV website previously contained important information regarding the Second Amendment and the ramifications of the 2008 Heller decision, in which the US Supreme Court reversed over 200 years of prior legal precedent in ruling in a narrow 5-4 decision that the Second Amendment conferred a constitutional right to keep a handgun in the home. The LCPGV website formerly described the Heller decision as being a "radical departure" from the Supreme Court's previous interpretation of the Second Amendment. Since partnering with ARS, though, the LCPGV has distributed a pamphlet describing Heller as a "landmark" decision that "affirmed the right to keep a gun for self-defense.” In fact, the Supreme Court didn’t “affirm” a right to individual gun ownership in the Heller decision. According to the LCPGV's own amicus brief, it created a right where none previously existed.
Americans Against Gun Violence is also concerned about a statement in the same pamphlet under the heading of "Slippery Slope to Confiscation:"
Nevermind that no serious organization advocates for mass firearm confiscation…or that collecting America’s 357 million firearms would be a logistical impossibility….In reality, smart gun laws are about saving lives and ensuring responsible gun ownership, not taking away guns.
Americans Against Gun Violence is a serious organization, and we believe that in order to reduce rates of gun violence in the United States to levels at or below the rates in other high income democratic countries, we must adopt comparable stringent gun control laws. Such laws will require many firearm owners, other than responsible hunters and target shooters who use traditional sporting rifles and shotguns, to surrender their guns. Substantially reducing the pool of guns in our country is not a "logistical impossibility." Other countries have done it, and so can we.
We've formally addressed these and other concerns with the leadership of LCPGV and we're awaiting a reply. Meanwhile, Americans Against Gun Violence will continue to try to work with LCPGV to foster laws that are reasonably likely to help reduce rates of gun violence in our country and to oppose laws that are likely to have the opposite effect.