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. In 2017, the LCPGV changed its name to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, and ARS changed its name to Giffords.
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 announced the formation of ARS, and which lists Giffords and Kelly as co-authors. The book is written in Kelly's first person voice "with Harry Jaffe," and Mr. Jaffe may have in fact been the principal 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.
Prior to its partnership with ARS, the LCPGV had correctly stated on its website that the United States has by far the highest rate of gun violence of any high income democratic country of the world, and that:
The reasons for this great disparity are clear: Americans own far more civilian firearms – particularly handguns – than people in other industrialized nations, and U.S. gun control laws are among the most lax in the world.
Americans Against Gun Violence believes, as the above statement posted on the old LCPGV website implies, 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 need not preclude responsible hunters and target shooters from practicing their sports with traditional sporting rifles and shotguns, but the adoption of such laws will require the surrender and destruction of many other firearms, including handguns and assault rifles. Substantially reducing the pool of guns in our country is not a "logistical impossibility." Other countries have done it, and so can we. The longer we wait, though, the larger the pool becomes.
We've formally addressed these and other concerns with the leadership of LCPGV and we're awaiting a reply.