2020 Elections: Gun Violence Prevention is a Winning Issue

Elected officials avoided the issue of gun violence. Those days are over. It’s time to unite people from coast to coast, red and blue, young and old, to end America’s gun violence epidemic and elect gun violence prevention champions.

Americans are ready to elect lawmakers who will fight to end gun violence. A recent poll found that gun violence was the most important issue for voters in Iowa heading into the 2020 presidential elections. In recent statewide races across Virginia, Virginians voted for Brady-endorsed candidates who ran and won on gun violence prevention platforms. For the first time in decades, Virginia’s General Assembly is home to a strong gun violence prevention majority.

We know this: Gun violence prevention is a winning issue.

We are poised to make history. We need to, and CAN, elect more gun violence prevention champions at the local, state, and federal levels. At Brady, we’ve seen positive change happen. We worked tirelessly to pass the Brady Background Check Law almost three decades ago. We need to work just as tirelessly to support gun violence prevention champions who will fight to end gun violence. The time is now and change is in our hands.

Listen to our podcast detailing our progress in Virginia

Understanding the Issues and Solutions

Understanding the issues around gun violence and the solutions to preventing it is essential to electing gun violence prevention champions. To free our communities, schools, and public places of gun violence, we need lawmakers who support common-sense gun safety legislation. Legislative solutions include passing laws like expanded background checks to all gun sales, banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, and implementing extreme risk protection orders (ERPOs). With a better understanding of the issues and solutions, we can elect lawmakers who are ready to take action, not sides, and work to end the epidemic of gun violence.

Expanding Brady Background Checks

Today, one in five guns is sold without a background check at gun shows, private sales, and online. Without a background check system that covers all gun sales, guns can fall into dangerous hands without any questions asked. Unregulated sales fuel gun violence. Over the last decade, one in three mass shooters were legally prohibited from possessing firearms at the time of the shooting. But existing loopholes in the current system allowed these prohibited purchasers to gain access to firearms.

A common-sense solution is expanding Brady Background Checks to all gun sales. This would stop prohibited purchasers from obtaining a gun, including at gun shows and online sales. The House of Representatives passed a bill to expand Brady Background Checks in February. Now, it awaits action in the Senate. Learn more about Brady Background Checks.

Ban Assault Weapons and High-Capacity Magazines

Time and again, assault weapons are the choice of weapon for mass shooters. They're uniquely lethal, allowing the most murders in the shortest amount of time. In shootings where assault weapons or high-capacity magazines are used, 155 percent more people are shot, and 47 percent more people are killed.

In 1994, Congress passed a bill that banned assault weapons, saving countless lives. During its time in effect, there was a 37% decline in gun massacres. But Congress allowed the ban to lapse in 2004, and in the decade after the ban expired from 2004 to 2014, over 300 people were shot and killed in 34 mass shootings. Learn more about legislation that would ban assault weapons.

Extreme Risk Protections Orders

A recent study found that 51% of mass shooters exhibited warning signs or concerning behaviors before their crimes. But more often than not, family members were powerless in preventing loved ones from obtaining a gun that they may use against themselves or others.

Extreme risk protection orders (ERPOs) allow family members or law enforcement to petition a civil court to temporarily remove firearms from a person in crisis before a tragedy becomes permanent. Extreme risk laws empower members of the community to prevent gun violence without threatening an individual’s Second Amendment right. In order to keep our communities, family members, and those in temporary crisis safe, we must implement a federal grant program to fund states to implement extreme risk laws. Learn more about extreme risk laws.

For more information about the issues and solutions, use The Brady Plan for a step-by-step guide.

Get out the Vote for Gun Violence Prevention Champions

Here are 3 quick ways you can get involved this election cycle!

  1. Join Brady throughout the country for a range of events in support of gun violence prevention champions. We offer events like phone banking for candidates, canvassing, and attending rallies and town halls. Learn more and find an event near you today.
  2. Take photos and post to social media!
    1. When you attend an event, be sure to bring your phone or camera to record any speeches or responses around gun violence prevention. Post your content online and make sure to tag Brady on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. We’ll make an effort to like, retweet, and comment on your material!
  3. Text five friends and ask them to pledge to vote for gun violence prevention champions! Text “VOTE” to 877-877.

Additional Election Information

  1. Who — First things first, you’ll need to find out who is running for office. Whether is be local, state, federal, or presidential elections, the Federal Elections Commission provides you with resources and tools to find out who is running. Learn more.
  2. When & Where — Now that you know who is running for office, it’s time to find out when and where elections are being held. USA Gov provides you with polling locations, voter identification requirements, and resources specific to your state. Learn more.
  3. What’s the Candidate’s Stance on Gun Violence Prevention? Now that you have the election basics down, it’s time to understand your candidate’s stance on gun violence prevention. Find out if your candidate is endorsed by Brady and learn more about their plan to prevent gun violence.
  4. Additional Endorsement Information — If you have any questions or would like any additional information about our endorsement process, please send an email to [email protected].