Washington, D.C., February 25, 2020 - Tonight, moderators asked candidates to answer for their past positions on gun policy and to share their vision for a future free of gun violence. They did not disappoint.

Brady President Kris Brown stated:

“We are energized by tonight’s debate. The moderators, recognizing that this issue is top of mind for all Americans and acknowledging the significance of the debate’s location, ensured that these seven candidates provided concrete answers and specific plans on how they would reduce and prevent gun violence.

The moderators held all candidates accountable for their past votes. The candidates acknowledged the need for future change and we are heartened by their responses.

When 100 people die from gun violence a day, policies such as expanding background checks, are essential to stopping violence in our country and saving lives. It is important that these candidates support these policies and will champion them.

Brady calls on the candidates to continue demonstrating their commitment to addressing gun violence and share concrete steps they will take in their first 100 days.

This includes an emphasis on how they would enact change. Candidates were right in their assessment that any future President will need to work with or without Congress. The acknowledgement that a simple majority vote in the Senate is necessary to achieve these policies is long overdue. The debate’s location, just a block away from Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church, is a clear call for this change. The U.S. Senate has not acted in 362 days to vote on a bill, passed by a bipartisan majority in the U.S. House of Representatives to address the ‘Charleston Loophole.’ Senator McConnell has refused to bring this common-sense bill up for a vote. A simple majority would pass this needed bill and save lives.”

The candidates on the debate stage tonight shared policies that include removing special protections for gun manufacturers granted to no other industry, expanding and strengthening Brady Background Checks, and banning weapons of war in our communities. Each of these are essential policies and a part of Brady’s comprehensive plan to prevent gun violence.

Brown concluded:

“While candidates on the stage acknowledged the scope of gun violence, too little attention was paid to the particular toll that this public health and safety crisis takes on Black and Brown communities. Virtually across the street from Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the site of the 2015 mass shooting where nine parishioners were killed during a bible study in a hate crime, candidates must continue to decry hate and share how they will specifically address gun violence in communities of color. Gun violence reduces Black Americans’ life expectancy by four years. As a nation, we must address this crisis head on.”

Tonight’s debate was moderated by Norah O’Donnell, anchor and managing editor of "CBS Evening News,” and Gayle King, co-host of "CBS This Morning.” Additional questions were asked by a team of CBS reporters, "Face the Nation" moderator and senior foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Brennan, chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett, and "60 Minutes" correspondent Bill Whitaker. Brady is grateful that they ensured these issues were raised.

About the 2015 Shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church:

Tonight’s debate took place at the Gaillard Center in Charleston, South Carolina, nearly across the street from Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the site of a 2015 mass shooting. That shooting, where the gunman was able to purchase his weapons due to a loophole in federal background check laws, left nine parishioners dead and another three injured, all African American. The attack was later named a federal hate crime, targeting Charleston’s African American community.

Facts About Gun Violence in the United States:

Using data from the Centers for Disease Control from the most recent years available (2013-2017), Brady established five-year averages to represent annual gun fatalities in the most accurate way possible.

Every day, 310 people are shot in the United States. Among those:

  • 100 people are shot and killed
  • 210 survive gun injuries
  • 95 are injured in an attack
  • 61 die from suicide

Every day, 21 children and teens (1-17) are shot in the United States. Among those:

  • 4 die from gun violence
  • 2 are murdered
  • 17 children and teens survive gun injuries
  • 8 are injured in an attack
  • 2 children and teens either die from suicide or survive a suicide attempt
  • 8 children and teens are shot instances of family fire — a shooting involving an improperly stored or misused gun found in the home resulting in injury or death

2018 Statistics on Gun Violence in South Carolina

The latest data available from the CDC shows that gun violence continues to afflict communities in the United States. This latest data, analyzed by the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence shows that:

  • In 2018 there were 895 death due to gun violence in South Carolina
  • 4,296 people died by gun violence in South Carolina from 2014 to 2018
  • That's an average of 859 people killed each year.
  • These rates have been increasing. In 2014, 767 people were killed and the crude rate was only 15.90. By 2016, 891 people were killed and the crude rate was up to 17.97. In 2018 there were 895 deaths and the crude rate was 17.6.
  • 2,497 people died by suicide by gun from 2014 to 2018, approximately 58% of all gun violence deaths in South Carolina, in that timeframe.
  • 1,696 gun deaths in South Carolina from 2014 to 2018 were homicide or legal intervention. 34 percent of those deaths happened to people 25 or under.

Brady has one powerful mission — to unite all Americans against gun violence. We work across Congress, the courts, and our communities with over 90 grassroots chapters, bringing together young and old, red and blue, and every shade of color to find common ground in common sense. In the spirit of our namesakes Jim and Sarah Brady, we have fought for over 45 years to take action, not sides, and we will not stop until this epidemic ends. It’s in our hands.


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