Warning Signs: Preventing Gun Violence in Crisis Situations


The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence is proud to partner with Americans for Responsible Solutions to release Warning Signs: Preventing Gun Violence in Crisis Situations. This collaborative report provides analysis of laws that help to empower community members to prevent gun violence in crisis situations.

Together, the Law Center and Americans for Responsible Solutions will continue to develop solutions to keep guns out of dangerous hands through careful research and legislative drafting. The Law Center’s unparalleled legal expertise and the formidable grassroots network of Americans for Responsible Solutions will ensure that the best information available on smart gun policies reaches legislators nationwide.

Download a PDF copy of Warning Signs: Preventing Gun Violence in Crisis Situations

Preventing the Next Mass Shooting Before It’s News

Columbine, Virginia Tech, Tucson, Aurora, Newtown. Most Americans can easily list many of the high profile mass shootings that our nation has experienced. News reports after these events frequently mention that friends, family members, and acquaintances noted a change in the shooter’s behavior in the time leading up to the tragedy. While a variety of legislative proposals can help reduce mass shootings, one approach is to give community members ways to act, so that access to guns can be temporarily removed when a person is in crisis.

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The Law Center’s 21st Anniversary Dinner – June 25, 2014


Thank you to everyone who joined us for the Law Center’s 21st Anniversary Dinner. We were honored to have the opportunity to award Anne Marks from Youth ALIVE! and Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly for their meaningful work. If you missed the event, watch the highlights and hear what Gabby and the other speakers wanted to share with the crowd:

Thirteen-year-old Sukari Wright, a poet with Youth Speaks, also shared her incredibly moving experience with the crowd:

The Law Center’s Anniversary Dinner is always a meaningful event that brings together our community to honor the exceptional efforts of a few key individuals for their outstanding leadership in the gun violence prevention movement. The dinner, with an audience of 500 – 700 attorneys, legal and business professionals, and advocates for smart gun laws from all over the country, is a truly remarkable event without parallel.

We were pleased to honor Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly as well as Youth ALIVE! for their courageous work on this issue at this year’s event.

Thank you to all who joined us on June 25th as we marked 21 years of the Law Center’s work saving lives with smart gun laws, honored outstanding leadership in our community, and energized the efforts of the national movement.

The Law Center’s 21st Anniversary Dinner
June 25, 2014
The Westin St. Francis | San Francisco

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Senate Judiciary Hearing on Gun Violence:
An Important Step Forward for America


Today marked an important step forward for our country, as the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee met to begin the discussion in Congress about gun violence in America. At the hearing, Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly advocated for smart solutions, like requiring background checks with all gun sales. Other panelists, however, suggested that we simply need more guns in our schools and in our communities.

The good news is that the Judiciary Committee reports to YOU. As panelist Baltimore County Chief of Police Jim Johnson, Chair of the National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence, said today:

Generations of Americans, including our youngest ones, are depending on you to ensure they will grow up and fulfill their roles in the great human experience. None of us can fail them.

I urge you to follow the will of the American public and stand with law enforcement to enact these common-sense public safety measures. 

It is time for the Senate Judiciary Committee to hear from you. Tell them that we need these sensible measures to keep our communities safe from gun violence:

  1. a criminal background check with every gun sale;
  2. a ban on weapons of war like assault weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines; and
  3. a gun trafficking law to make it easier for law enforcement to prosecute criminals.

Call the Senate Judiciary Committee and tell them that you support these smart solutions to curb gun violence now. Then share this post with your friends and family.

Majority Office
Phone: 202-224-7703

Minority Office 
Phone: 202-224-5225

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Thank you, Gabby and Mark

Today marks another dark anniversary in our country’s history. Two years ago, our nation mourned a horrific act in Tucson, Arizona – where a beloved congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords, was shot in the head by a dangerously mentally ill man and barely survived. Six Americans in the crowd were killed and thirteen were gravely wounded alongside her. Since then, we, as a nation, have witnessed shooting after shooting – in our theatres, shopping malls, and houses of worship – yet have done next to nothing to stop them.

We cannot let this violence continue.

Gabby Giffords is not willing to stand by and do nothing. The horrific event that changed her life two years ago today has made her more resilient and determined than ever. Earlier today, she announced that she and her husband Mark Kelly will fight to find responsible solutions to the massive loss of life that we experience on a daily basis.

“We have experienced too much death and hurt to remain idle. Our response to the Newtown massacre must consist of more than regret, sorrow and condolence. The children of Sandy Hook Elementary School and all victims of gun violence deserve fellow citizens and leaders who have the will to prevent gun violence in the future.”

That means all of us. Help us thank Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly for their bravery and tenacity by joining them. Your voice is needed to tell your legislators that you support them and will continue to support them in the fight to end these tragedies.

Vice President Biden’s task force is in meetings this week to discuss the next steps. Please call your legislators and tell them that you want them to support the following smart and effective solutions to the end the bloodshed:

1) A background check with all gun sales
2) A ban on military-style assault weapons
3) A ban on large capacity ammunition magazines – some of which can hold 100 rounds of ammunition

Tell them that they must take action today – because the safety of our loved ones depends on it.

Find your legislators now and call: http://bit.ly/myrepresentative

Obama, Honor Gabrielle Giffords with Your Courage

Gabrielle Giffords has announced that she is resigning her seat to focus on recovering from the severe injuries she sustained in the tragic shooting in Arizona last January. She has displayed such grace, strength, and perseverance in her fight to recuperate from her gunshot wound to the head, and yet the President and Congress have still done nothing to support basic improvements to our national background checks system – changes that would prevent countless acts of violence across the country. Furthermore, we agree:

..it would be a disservice to her life and that of the others directly affected by this, and tragedies like it, to ignore the factors that precipitated the violence: the easy access to guns; the availability of accessories such as extended clips that make deadly weapons all the more lethal; and a porous and shoddy regulatory system that too often fails to keep these weapons out of the hands of dangerous or dangerously unstable individuals.

~ Washington Post editorial

We stand united with our allies in the fight to have this issue recognized as an epidemic in our country. Our partners, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, said it best in their letter to President Obama (read the full letter below):

Last year, 12,000 Americans were murdered with guns. To put the death toll in perspective, imagine the entire population of a town being murdered over the course of a year. Or a university losing its entire student body, each day bringing 34 new murders. Surely, these events would shock Washington into action. But the grim fact that guns are used to murder 34 people a day is barely discussed in Washington – even though the tragic reality is that many of those lives could have been saved if the federal government had fixed its broken background check system.

We will continue to work tirelessly – with the law on our side – to promote smart guns laws that can, and do, save lives.

The Law Center Joined Americans Nationwide to Remember Victims and Survivors of Gun Violence on the One-Year Anniversary of the Shooting in Tucson, Arizona

On January 8, 2012, the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence joined Americans nationwide to remember victims and survivors of gun violence on the one-year anniversary of the shooting in Tucson, Arizona.  At a candlelight vigil in Yerba Buena Gardens, survivors, legislators, and activists from across the Bay Area gathered to reflect on the terrible toll of gun violence and the need for renewed efforts to keep our communities safe.

Our Legal Director Juliet Leftwich spoke to the need for action in an op-ed in the Contra Costa Times, urging Congress to enact sensible gun laws to prevent future tragedies:

Remember Republicans and Democrats alike sitting together to express their unified support for their fallen colleague? Sadly, rather than using that moment to actually do something tangible to prevent similar tragedies from happening in the future, our leaders let the opportunity pass and simply returned to business as usual.

It’s not too late. If members of Congress truly want to honor the victims and survivors of the Tucson shooting, they should stop pandering to the gun lobby and start protecting public safety.

We thank everyone who attended Sunday’s vigil.  You can watch a KTVU news report on the event below and see more photos from the vigil here.

The San Francisco vigil, organized by the Law Center, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence Bay Area Chapters, 1000 Mothers to Prevent Violence, and Youth ALIVE!, was one of numerous vigils held on January 8 to remember victims of gun violence nationwide.  Reports from events across the country are being collected at TooManyVictims.org.

Gun violence prevention groups have also released a number of important materials recently.  Mayors Against Illegal Guns released a video of survivors from the Tucson shooting sharing their stories.  The Violence Policy Center also published a new report entitled More Guns, More Shootings, which found that, in 2008, 110,215 people were shot in the United States, a nine-year high.

The Law Center’s 18th Anniversary Dinner: Thank You Sponsors and Guests

We would like to thank all of the sponsors and guests who came together at the Law Center’s 18th Anniversary Dinner to honor our community’s commitment to ending the epidemic of gun violence in America.

This year, the Law Center’s Distinguished Leadership Awardee Dr. Peter Rhee reminded us of the physical impact of gun violence on the countless lives seen in trauma centers every day. Despite the successful reduction in crime in Los Angeles, Keynote Speaker Mayor Villaraigosa reflected on the fact that our cities are still plagued by senseless gun violence, and that there remains much work to be done.

We remembered those 100,000 Americans killed and injured by gun violence every year, reviving our dedication to promoting strong gun laws, fighting dangerous litigation, and advocating for the majority of Americans that believe smart gun laws save lives.

We cannot thank our sponsors, guests, and donors enough for supporting our work through this special event. Because of their generosity, the Law Center can continue to tirelessly advocate for safer communities and the prevention of future tragedies.

Thank you for acting together with us.

The Law Center Applauds President Obama’s Long-Overdue Statement on Need for Improved Gun Laws

On Sunday, March 13, two months after the Tucson massacre, President Obama announced a proposal to improve the federal background check system in an Arizona Daily Star op-ed. “[O]ur focus right now should be on sound and effective steps that will actually keep those irresponsible, law-breaking few from getting their hands on a gun in the first place,” the president wrote. “Porous background checks are bad for police officers, for law-abiding citizens and for [firearms] sellers themselves.”

The Law Center commends the president for this first step to address America’s gun violence epidemic. President Obama proposed improving background check recordkeeping, but unfortunately federal law does not even require every gun purchaser to pass a background check. As the president noted in his op-ed, “If we’re serious about keeping guns away from someone who’s made up his mind to kill, then we can’t allow a situation where a responsible seller denies him a weapon at one store, but he effortlessly buys the same gun someplace else.” The Law Center urges the president to support S. 436, Senator Schumer’s bill to require universal background checks.

President Obama called on Americans to begin “a new discussion on how we can keep America safe for all our people.” The American public, however, has already voiced broad support for requiring a background check before every firearm sale. A recent bipartisan poll showed that 86% of Americans and 81% of gun owners nationwide support universal background checks. Additional polls in Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Ohio and Virginia indicate that at least 83% of respondents — and over 75% of gun owners — in each of those states support this policy.

The Law Center has long advocated for universal background checks and for the improvement of background check recordkeeping. Despite Congress’ unwillingness to confront gun violence in recent years, and its consistent capitulation to the gun lobby, we are encouraged by the prospect that the president’s recent statement will mark a new beginning in federal firearms legislation.

Federal Legislation in the Wake of Tucson

Following the tragic shootings of Representative Gabrielle Giffords and 18 others in Tucson, Arizona, on January 8, 2011, federal legislators have introduced several bills to reduce gun violence. Representative Carolyn McCarthy has authored legislation to prohibit the transfer or possession of large capacity ammunition magazines, like those used by the Tucson shooter. We encourage you to sign our petition urging Congress to pass H.R. 308 the bill to ban large capacity ammunition magazines, and contact your congressperson to voice your support for this common sense legislation.

Other significant federal legislation introduced after the Tucson shooting includes a bill by Senator Barbara Boxer to establish minimum standards for states that allow the carrying of concealed firearms, and a bill introduced by Representative Peter King to prohibit the carrying of a firearm near a senior federal official holding a public event, carrying out official duties, or campaigning for federal elective office.

Mayors Against Illegal Guns Champions Reform of Federal Gun Laws

Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG), a diverse national coalition of more than 500 mayors led by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, promotes federal legislation to reduce illegal firearms trafficking and repair gaping loopholes in our nation’s background check system. MAIG’s latest campaign, Fix Gun Checks, encourages Congress to adopt federal laws to ensure mental health and drug abuse information is entered into the databases used to check a prospective firearm transferee’s background, and to close the private sale loophole by requiring a background check prior to every gun transfer. Mayor Bloomberg led a recent undercover investigation of the Crossroads of the West Gun Show in Phoenix, Arizona, which showed unlicensed sellers willingly selling guns to people who say they probably “couldn’t pass” a background check. The Law Center is pleased to support MAIG’s efforts for critical gun violence prevention legislation nationwide.

Petition to Support Ban on Large Capacity Ammunition Magazines Following Tragic Tucson Shooting

Congresswoman McCarthy and gun violence prevention advocates at press conference introducing H.R. 308

After the tragic mass shooting in Tucson, which left six dead and thirteen wounded, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, we must stand together to take common sense steps to prevent similar tragedies.

The Arizona shooter used a handgun equipped with a large capacity ammunition magazine capable of holding 33 bullets, which enabled him to cause so much devastation in a matter of moments. Only when the shooter finally had to reload were brave individuals able to tackle him and end the bloodshed.

Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy has introduced H.R. 308, which would prohibit the possession or sale of large capacity ammunition magazines. Please join us by signing this petition in support of Congresswoman McCarthy’s legislation and forwarding the petition to anyone you know who would be willing to join this effort.

To: Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy

I support H.R. 308, your bill to ban large capacity ammunition magazines.

Large capacity ammunition magazines are frequently used in mass shootings, including the tragedy in Tucson and those at Columbine High School, Virginia Tech, Fort Hood, and 101 California Street in San Francisco.

These magazines were banned as part of the 1994 federal assault weapons ban, but became legal when Congress allowed the law to expire in 2004. We must ban large capacity magazines and work to end America’s gun violence epidemic.




About Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence

The Law Center is a national law center dedicated to preventing gun violence. Formed in the wake of the 1993 assault weapon massacre at 101 California Street in San Francisco, we provide free legal assistance to public officials and activists working to reduce firearm-related deaths and injuries.


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