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2020 Recap: Our Biggest Wins in the Fight to Prevent Gun Violence

12/23/2020

Join us in celebrating these gun violence prevention victories as we usher in 2021.

This past year, we rose up in the face of a global pandemic, a hostile Trump-Pence administration, and surging rates of gun violence in cities across the country. But with your support, we won landmark victories that will affect the gun violence prevention movement for years to come.

In our work across Congress, courts, and communities, we're winning gun industry oversight, addressing gun violence as a racial justice issue, and giving victims of gun violence justice in court. This year alone, Brady Legal successfully won or settled three pivotal cases around the gun industry, filed 11 lawsuits in seven states, and was involved in litigating 41 cases in courts across the country. We also passed lifesaving laws across the country, bolstered lifesaving programs in impacted areas, mobilized gun safety voters for a record turnout on Election Day 2020, and more.

Although 2020 may be a number we all want to forget, here are 10 victories that we should surely remember and celebrate.

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We know that 2021 will bring even more challenges, including a gridlocked Senate and an even more conservative Supreme Court. But with your support, we will continue to mobilize and win. Donate now and your gift to Brady will be tripled!

1. For the second year in a row, we won lifesaving funding for research to prevent gun violence

More Americans have been killed by guns since 1968 than in all U.S. wars combined. But before 2019, the issue of gun violence hadn’t received federal funding in nearly 23 years, and it has historically received far less funding than any other leading cause of death in America. Researching gun violence is not about "proving" that there is a problem (unfortunately, that problem is all too tragically apparent), but rather identifying urgently needed solutions. We need evidence-based solutions that will help us save as many lives as possible, and research plays a major role in informing public policy. Ultimately, funding for gun violence prevention research will help us learn the best strategies to reduce gun suicide, understand the link between domestic violence and gun violence, identify the most effective safe gun storage practices, and more.

Drum roll, please...

The @CDC has released its first research grant request for gun violence prevention research!

Born after 1996? This will be the first time in your lifetime that Congress has funded CDC/NIH research to prevent gun violence. #WeNeedToKnow #EndGunViolence pic.twitter.com/SgtXNbfmHh

— Brady | United Against Gun Violence (@bradybuzz) February 21, 2020

In 2020, we helped secure $50 million in federal funding to research gun violence. This victory reinforces our congressional win last year, when our award-winning #WeNeedToKnow campaign with Team ENOUGH and March For Our Lives helped ensure that $25 million was included in the funding package to research gun violence. In 2021, we can expect to learn invaluable, long-awaited data and findings that we’ll be able to put to use to prevent gun violence and save lives.

I’m fighting for @CDCgov funding to study gun violence alongside @BradyBuzz and @AMarch4OurLives. #WeNeedToKnow how to end the gun violence epidemic in our country once and for all. pic.twitter.com/vAjsdGKaXY

— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) June 18, 2019

2. We introduced the nation’s first civil lawsuits against the unregulated "ghost gun" industry

At the height of the pandemic, ghost guns were reportedly flying off the shelves. Ghost guns are unregulated firearms that anyone — including minors and prohibited purchasers — can buy and build in their own home without a Brady Background Check. The proliferation of ghost guns has led to an exponential increase in their use in crimes, including the senseless murders of police officers and children. In December, Brady Legal introduced the nation’s first civil lawsuits on behalf of survivors and victims of gun violence against the ghost gun industry. We’re alleging that the ghost gun industry has chosen to utilize a business that exploits online loopholes that enable prohibited purchasers to acquire weapons without a Brady Background Check.

Learn more about ghost guns Listen to our podcast episode

BREAKING: Federal agents raided one of the nation’s largest manufacturers of "ghost gun" parts — signaling that federal law enforcement is FINALLY cracking down on these weapons.

This comes on the heels of Brady filing two major ghost gun cases in court. https://t.co/FfsiNPz1FV

— Brady | United Against Gun Violence (@bradybuzz) December 11, 2020

3. We struck down a harmful federal law that gives the gun industry legal immunity

This fall, we celebrated a long-awaited, landmark victory for gun violence victims and their families when a Pennsylvania court ruled on our case representing the parents and family of 13-year-old J.R. Gustafson. In its ruling, the court struck down a harmful gun industry protection called the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA).

This is 13-year-old J.R. Gustafson, who was killed when his friend unintentionally shot him. We've spent years fighting for justice.

This week, a court ruled on our case: J.R's family can have their day in court — and so can victims of gun violence everywhere. #GunReform

THREAD pic.twitter.com/3ErYrNx27c

— Brady | United Against Gun Violence (@bradybuzz) October 3, 2020

The backstory of this case — including why we took the gun industry to court — is tragic. In 2016, J.R. was killed when his friend unintentionally shot him with a gun thought to be unloaded. That gun lacked a crucial safety feature that could have prevented this tragedy. We alleged that the gun manufacturer should be held accountable — and we won. The court called PLCAA “repugnant to the Constitution of the United States.” We couldn’t say it better ourselves.

Read more about PLCCA

If this victory holds, and other courts follow it, gun makers and sellers will no longer be immune in court. Victims and their families — like J.R.’s parents — will have a path to justice. And gun makers, like the one that made the gun that killed J.R., can be pushed to make business and manufacturing reforms that will prevent tragedies and save lives.

We Dealt the Biggest Blow Yet to the NRA

In 2020, the New York Attorney General announced a lawsuit to dissolve the NRA. Activists responded by joining Brady’s petition for the IRS to investigate the NRA’s tax-exempt status, helping us collect over 175,000 signatures.

4. We grew the youth-led movement by expanding our Team ENOUGH program to statehouses across the country

We’re proud that our Team ENOUGH program runs the only national, youth-led lobbying group for common-sense gun reform. In 2020, the program’s third year, Team ENOUGH officially expanded its Lobbying Collective to Florida and Virginia. A total of 100 applicants were accepted into the entire program, and since August, members have virtually met with over a dozen lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to advocate for gun safety legislation.

We also grew our Team ENOUGH Executive Council, welcoming 11 passionate youth leaders to guide and oversee our work. Aalayah Eastmond, who survived the Marjory Stoneman Douglas massacre in Parkland, Florida, was one of many members to return to the program, and we welcomed new members like David Ledbetter, who was recognized by President Obama for organizing and getting out the vote ahead of Election Day. Team ENOUGH remains one of the only entirely youth-led organizations fighting for gun violence prevention in America.

Learn more about Team ENOUGH

5. We established a police reform platform and helped win lifesaving laws across the country

In 2020, we renewed our calls for systemic change and racial justice, establishing a public health approach to reform policing in America. In Congress and statehouses across the country, we testified and lobbied for legislation to invest in our communities, reform policing practices, and mandate transparency.

In California, our incredible network of Brady grassroots advocates ensured that violence intervention and prevention initiatives will be funded, rather than policed. In a package of gun violence prevention bills, Brady helped secure $9 million in funds for California’s Violence Intervention and Prevention program (CalVIP). CALVIP supports evidence-based urban violence prevention programs, such as hospital and community-based violence interventions, which have proven to reduce gun violence in predominantly Black and Brown communities.

In Virginia, we celebrated when Gov. Ralph Northam signed an entire slate of policing reform bills into law. From banning ‘no-knock’ warrants and limiting neck restraints, these new laws will prevent dangerous police practices that disproportionately affect and target Black and Brown individuals.

ICYMI: Last week, Virginia became the first state to ban no-knock warrants in response to the murder of Breonna Taylor.

Thank you to @SenatorLocke, @delegateaird and more for championing this lifesaving legislation. #PoliceReform #EndGunViolence #VAleg https://t.co/TB2pQCrcHq

— Brady | United Against Gun Violence (@bradybuzz) December 21, 2020

In Colorado, Brady worked with legislators to win the passage of the Enhance Law Enforcement Integrity Act just three weeks after the murder of George Floyd. This landmark piece of legislation helps put an end to discriminatory policing practices, including banning the use of deadly force to arrest someone on suspicion of minor or non-violent offenses.

In Congress, we submitted official testimony in support of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020. This historic legislation passed the U.S. House of Representatives, and while it awaits Senate passage, it is one of the first steps in nationally correcting the systemic injustices that led to George Floyd’s murder.

#PoliceReform in Colorado 🙌🏾

✅ Bans chokeholds
✅ Restricts qualified immunity
✅ Police bystander culpability

Are we done? NO!
Keep putting pressure on your states to pass similar legislation. It's working, but we're not done!#EndPoliceViolencehttps://t.co/NjrMRfMmNq

— Team ENOUGH (@Team_Enough) June 23, 2020

6. We responded to social isolation and record levels of gun sales by launching a national campaign to practice safe firearm storage and prevent gun suicide

A record 2.5 million Americans bought a firearm for the first time in 2020, and we know that access to a firearm in the household triples the risk of a suicide death. As gun sales surged throughout COVID-19, we invested more resources than ever toward our End Family Fire public education program. We underscored the lifesaving message that the best way you can keep you and your loved ones safe from family fire is to keep all guns in the home stored locked, unloaded, and away from ammunition.

We lose 63 people a day to gun suicide — more than gun homicides and unintentional shootings put together. Protect your loved ones by storing guns locked, unloaded, and separately from ammunition. #EndFamilyFire #SuicidePrevention pic.twitter.com/tEKvNJITc1

— EndFamilyFire (@EndFamilyFire) September 16, 2020

Our new PSA, which focuses on how safe firearm storage can prevent firearm suicide, is being carried on major networks across the country, along with our print and digital ads on bus shelters, billboards, and more. We’re proud to share our suicide prevention message with gun owners in key areas of the country that are uniquely affected by this issue.

Visit endfamilyfire.org

7. We teamed up with March For Our Lives to expand and protect voting access ahead of Election Day 2020

Gun violence prevention is inextricably linked to a fair and representative democracy — but our nation’s voting laws are entrenched in racism and outdated policies. Black and Latinx communities are not only the most affected by gun violence, but they’re also the communities who face the greatest barriers to voting. In order to uplift these voices and ensure their right to vote, Brady, Team ENOUGH, and March For Our Lives joined forces to launch our national #VotingAccessSavesLives campaign.

I grew up living the daily effects of gun violence. I’m grateful to work w/ @team_enough & @bradybuzz to save lives.

This election, issues like gun violence & the fate of our democracy are on the ballot. We must ensure EVERY person has the right to vote.#VotingAccessSavesLives pic.twitter.com/Rx21wYojs8

— Ivan Garcia (@IvanNathGarcia) September 22, 2020

We mobilized hundreds of advocates, held nearly 20 phonebanks, and drove thousands of calls to key elected officials, advocating for vote-by-mail/absentee voting, early voting, voter restoration, and additional ballot drop boxes in 15 priority states. In Virginia, our advocacy helped lead to Gov. Ralph Northam passing a bill that expanded voting access across the commonwealth!

Together, we can stand up to the gun lobby by making sure every American’s voice is heard this November. I’m proud to join @bradybuzz, @AMarch4OurLives, and @Team_Enough on the 55th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act to remind folks that #VotingAccessSavesLives. pic.twitter.com/Vaq4d8gAYU

— Rep. Katie Porter (@RepKatiePorter) August 7, 2020

8. We flipped the script to focus on the "supply-side" of gun violence, fighting to reform gun dealers and hold them accountable

We partnered with Rep. Debbie Murcarsel Powell (D-FL) to introduce the Firearms Retailer Code of Conduct Act of 2020, which would be the first federal law to hold reckless dealers accountable for diverting firearms into the illegal market and fueling the gun violence epidemic. This lifesaving legislation will keep illegal guns out of our streets and communities by ensuring gun dealers recognize and act upon dangerous signs of straw purchases or gun trafficking. Guns very often flow from white communities into Black ones, and this legislation will be invaluable in reducing gun violence in Black and Brown communities.

Too often, efforts to prevent gun violence focus on the perpetrators of violence. But to stop the flow of crime guns, we need to go to the source. We need to talk about the suppliers. Learn more: https://t.co/kAi3ZMLrMX #EndGunViolence pic.twitter.com/OiwVGkpDAI

— Brady | United Against Gun Violence (@bradybuzz) September 14, 2020

9. We surpassed 100 episodes of our award-nominated podcast, "Red, Blue, & Brady," educating and mobilizing gun violence prevention activists across the country

In the year since we launched "Red, Blue, & Brady," we reached 50,000 listeners across the country and world. We sat down with over 100 guests to bring both data and hard-hitting personal stories to conversations about racial justice, police reform, the LGBTQA+ community, and more.

In addition to educating and inspiring listeners to join the movement to prevent gun violence, we won some honors and accolades along the way. Throughout 2020, "Red, Blue, & Brady," consistently landed in the top 200 education podcast lists, and our series on racial justice within the movement to end gun violence was shortlisted for a prestigious Shorty Award.
Browse our top episodes from 2020 and be sure to search "Red, Blue, & Brady" in your favorite streaming app to download and subscribe!

I am so proud to share the news that @bradybuzz's podcast series on gun violence and racial justice is a @shortyawards finalist! We are nominated alongside podcasts by HBO, CNN, and more. Please give us a listen today. #ShortyAwards #EndGunViolence https://t.co/jRjLiuNFim

— Kris Brown | President, bradyunited.org (@KrisB_Brown) October 17, 2020

10. We made handgun "microstamping" the law in California, creating a blueprint for the rest of the country.

After the tireless effort of Brady California members and activists across the country, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) signed our priority bill on handgun microstamping into law. Microstamping technology leaves unique markings, or “microstamps,” on bullet casings so that law enforcement can trace evidence from crime scenes to the gun that fired them. This revolutionizes law enforcement's ability to use reliable evidence to identify shooters, apprehend them before they do more harm, and hold them accountable.

BREAKING: Interrupting #Debates2020, @GavinNewsom has signed a landmark gun safety bill into law! A new microstamping law will help solve gun crimes. This is now a model for the nation! Our Mattie Scott explains its importance here. #EndGunViolence #CAleg pic.twitter.com/t1HY0494Y6

— Brady | United Against Gun Violence (@bradybuzz) September 30, 2020

At the helm of our efforts were Brady California leaders and gun violence survivors Amanda Wilcox and Mattie Scott, who testified, lobbied, and never let up. Mattie shared the heart-wrenching story of the unsolved murder of her son, George, who was 24 years old when he was shot and killed in 1996. Tragically, there are thousands upon thousands of unsolved gun homicide cases in America, leaving countless families like Mattie's without closure.

Ultimately, our victory in California sets us on a path to pass similar, lifesaving laws in states across the country. Altogether, we mobilized supporters to send roughly 15,000 messages to legislators calling for the passage of this crucial gun reform policy. We'll be using that same momentum and grassroots power to win legislative fights in 2021.


Thank you for making our work possible!

In 2021, we're ready to pass lifesaving reforms alongside Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and continue to take on Mitch McConnell and the NRA. Donate now and your gift to Brady will be TRIPLED.

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