FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
Washington, D.C. — Four national gun violence prevention organizations are joining advocates from the nation’s capital in the fight for statehood and full representation for the residents of Washington, D.C.
Brady, Newtown Action Alliance, Guns Down America and Survivors Empowered announced today that they are joining the 51 for 51 D.C. statehood coalition, along with 20 other national and local partners. The group is raising awareness about the more than 700,000 taxpaying residents of our nation’s capital who lack equal representation in Congress and the right to self-govern. They want the Senate to amend its rules so that 51 votes in the Senate is enough to move forward on voting representation for residents living in Washington, D.C.
A person is killed with a gun every three days in the District of Columbia — nearly a quarter of the victims are under the age of 21. Historically, the gun laws of the District of Columbia have been used as a bargaining chip in Congress, and the will — and lives — of residents of Washington, D.C., have been overlooked.
Igor Volsky, Executive Director for Guns Down America, explains, “we’re demanding equal representation for the citizens of D.C. so that they can continue to build a city with fewer guns and safer communities.”
Gun violence prevention groups are committing to the 51 for 51 movement to help protect local gun laws and to empower the leaders of the District of Columbia to continue fighting for their right to keep their citizens safe.
“Every American should have a say in how they can best prevent gun violence in their communities. However, when it comes to efforts to pass gun safety laws, citizens of our nation’s capital have had their gun safety measures repeatedly held hostage to a Congress putting the gun industry agenda ahead of the safety of District residents. Even as gun homicides rise in Washington, D.C. our leaders in Congress continually refuse to act. This clear violation of basic democratic rights is so grave and so dangerous that we need to take every step necessary to grant District residents full statehood and proper representation in Congress. As an organization with deep roots in Washington, D.C., and with many of our family members living right here in the District, this is a particularly important and resonant issue for us. It’s literally a matter of life or death,” said Kris Brown, President of Brady.
“From Newtown, Connecticut to Washington, D.C., the gun violence epidemic is devastating too many families in our communities. In 2018, guns were involved in 38% of assaults with a dangerous weapon in the nation’s capital. In a nation plagued with daily gun violence, every voter must have an opportunity to be fairly represented in Congress. It’s time to allow each and every voter in the nation’s capital to receive equal representation to make our nation’s capital and all communities in America safer,” said Po Murray, Chairwoman of Newtown Action Alliance.
For the first time in 26 years, the House of Representatives will hold a hearing on statehood on July 24th, led by Rep. Elijah Cummings. Congresswoman Holmes Norton’s D.C. statehood bill has a record number of cosponsors in the House and Senate.
Ten 2020 presidential candidates, as well as former candidate Rep. Eric Swalwell, have voiced their support for the 51 for 51 campaign so far:
- Senator Elizabeth Warren
- Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
- Mayor Pete Buttigieg
- Rep. Tim Ryan
- Gov. Steve Bullock
- Rep. John Delaney
- Gov. Jay Inslee
- Andrew Yang
- Mayor Bill de Blasio
- Gov. John Hickenlooper
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.
51 for 51 is a coalition comprised of D.C.-based and national groups committed to equal representation rights for D.C.’s over 700,000 residents. The coalition of 20 progressive groups say American citizens living in the District deserve a voice in Congress and control over their own local laws.