For more than two decades, the legal experts at Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence have advocated for the proven solutions to the gun violence epidemic in the United States. In that time, our committed, dynamic staff has become the foremost resource on American firearm policy, educating legislators and the public on the gun laws and community-based programs that save lives.


Robyn Thomas

Executive Director

Robyn Thomas

Robyn Thomas joined Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence as executive director in 2006. Robyn supervises Giffords Law Center’s work drafting and defending safer gun laws, as well as educating legislators about evidence-based gun policy. Under her leadership, Giffords Law Center has advanced a robust suite of policies that are proven to be most effective in solving our nation’s gun violence epidemic.

Robyn has testified in Congress and before state and local lawmakers as an expert witness on gun laws and the American gun violence epidemic. In 2008, Robyn oversaw the organization’s efforts to coordinate the drafting and filing of all amicus briefs in the landmark Supreme Court case District of Columbia v. Heller and continues to supervise the legal team’s tracking and analysis of Second Amendment litigation. Most recently, Robyn spearheaded the creation of the Firearms Accountability Counsel Taskforce, a joint venture between top law firms and the gun violence prevention movement, and Giffords Law Center’s Urban Gun Violence Initiative, which aims to help save lives through a combination of community intervention strategies and gun laws.

Robyn has written about gun violence prevention for a number of publications, including the New York Times, Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times, and the New York Daily News. She regularly appears on television as a leading authority on America’s gun laws, and has been interviewed on 60 Minutes, Fox News, MSNBC, ABC, PBS NewsHour, NBC, CNN, and more. Robyn has also been quoted widely in the media, offering her expertise to the Washington Post, USA Today, Vanity Fair, the Guardian, and NPR, among many others, and was featured in Katie Couric’s documentary Under the Gun, which premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. Named Woman of the Year by San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors in 2014, Robyn was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and moved with her family to New Jersey when she was five.

Prior to her work at Giffords Law Center, Robyn served as the executive director of the Tikkun Community and Tikkun Magazine. Before entering the nonprofit space, Robyn practiced law at Lord Bissell & Brook and Milberg Weiss Bershad & Shulman in New York. She is a graduate of Duke University and the University of Miami School of Law. Follow Robyn on Twitter @RobynGLC.

Allison Anderman

Managing Attorney

Allison Anderman

Allison Anderman became the managing attorney of Giffords Law Center in 2017, after joining the organization as a staff attorney in 2014. One of her primary focuses is partnering with cities and counties around the country to improve local gun laws. Allison also writes Gifford Law Center’s roundup of state firearm legislation, Gun Law Trendwatch.

A leading expert on firearms policy and legislation, Allison frequently speaks at conferences and events around the country and has analyzed and debated gun laws on CNN, HuffPost Live, and other news programs. Allison’s radio appearances include national NPR, KQED in San Francisco, KCRW in Los Angeles, and many other stations. She has been quoted extensively in the press, including by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, the Guardian, and many others.

Prior to joining Giffords Law Center, Allison defended low-income individuals sued by debt collectors at two San Francisco Bay Area nonprofit organizations. She also practiced employment law at a Marin County firm. Allison served as an extern to Northern District Court Judge Marilyn Hall Patel and as a research attorney to Alameda Superior Court Judge Gail Brewster Bereola.

Allison attended the University of San Francisco School of Law, where she was a member of the USF Law Review. She holds a BA, awarded with distinction, from the University of Rochester in Rochester, New York, where she graduated cum laude with research honors.

Laura Cutilletta

Legal Director

Laura Cutilletta

Laura Cutilletta joined Giffords Law Center in May 2003, serving as staff attorney, senior staff attorney, managing attorney, and now the organization’s legal director. She is a prominent expert on gun laws and policy nationwide, and, in 2009, established programs to track, analyze, and report on firearms legislation and trends in all 50 states. This project has made the organization the primary resource on state gun laws for media, activists, lawmakers, and the public. Laura has worked for more than a decade with activists across the country and legislators at all levels of government, providing legal expertise and advice on legislative solutions to gun violence.

Laura is frequently invited to speak at conferences around the country and has been quoted in major publications such as the Economist, the New York Times, Rolling StoneNewsweek, and the Atlantic.

Previously Laura served as the legal services manager at STAND! Against Domestic Violence and staff attorney at the Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago. She has been admitted to the bar in both California and Illinois, and earned her JD from Georgetown University Law Center.

Kelly Drane

Research Manager

Kelly Drane

Kelly Drane joined Giffords Law Center in 2017 as a public health research associate. In 2018, she became the organization’s research manager. She provides public health data expertise to support the organization’s policy-making, litigation, and educational work. Kelly helps to research best practices for community-based gun violence prevention as part of the Urban Gun Violence Initiative, and she maintains an ongoing database of studies and reports related to firearm violence prevention.

Kelly received her MHS from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where her master’s thesis focused on media coverage of gun violence, and her BA from Rhodes College.

Ari Freilich

Staff Attorney & California Legislative Affairs Director

Ari Freilich
Staff attorney Ari Freilich joined Giffords Law Center in early 2015 and directs the organization’s California legislative affairs. He has worked to draft, champion, and pass a variety of gun safety reforms into law, including California’s landmark Proposition 63 ballot initiative. Ari also works closely with legislators and activists in other states across the country and has authored Giffords Law Center’s comprehensive reports about suicide prevention and closing the firearm relinquishment gap.

An expert on mental health policy and state legislation, Ari has discussed and debated issues related to gun violence in TV, radio, and print publications and has been quoted in the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Guardian, USA Today, the Atlantic, Huffington Post, Mother Jones, CNN, NPR, and many other outlets.

Prior to joining Giffords Law Center, Ari was an AMVETS Veterans’ Advocacy Legal Fellow, where he focused on litigation and policy work surrounding the military justice system’s treatment of mental health and suicide. He also published multiple law review articles on these topics. Ari earned his undergraduate degree from Cornell University and his law degree from Stanford Law School.

Ellen French

Chief Operating Officer

Ellen French
Ellen French has served as the chief operating officer for Giffords Law Center since 2006. Ellen brings over 30 years of expertise in nonprofit finance, human resources, and administration to her role.

Previously, Ellen provided financial services in both a staffing and consulting capacity to nonprofit organizations in San Francisco, Palo Alto, Sacramento, and the East Bay. She has also served as a national fiscal reviewer for Head Start. Ellen has served on San Francisco nonprofit boards for the past 20 years and holds a master’s degree in nonprofit administration from the University of San Francisco, where she also served as an adjunct professor in the School of Management.

Ariel Lowrey

Legal Program Associate

Ariel Lowrey
Ariel Lowrey joined Giffords Law Center as a legal program associate in September 2018. Ariel supports the organization’s legal work through editing, research, and writing. Before Giffords Law Center, Ariel worked as an undergraduate research assistant at the Fundamentals of the Adolescent Brain Lab at Yale, where she studied substance abuse risk in children and how threat is perceived in interracial interactions. She graduated from Yale University with a BS in Psychology.

Garrett McDonough

Marketing & Creative Director

Garrett McDonough
Garrett McDonough joined Giffords Law Center as communications director in 2014. In 2016, he became director of marketing and communications. In 2017, he became Giffords Law Center’s marketing and creative director.

Garrett holds BA and MFA degrees from Columbia University, where he also taught as an adjunct. Prior to joining Giffords Law Center, Garrett worked in higher education marketing for seven years.

Mike McLively

Senior Staff Attorney & Urban Gun Violence Initiative Director

Mike McLively joined Giffords Law Center in 2013 and is now senior staff attorney and director of Giffords Law Center’s Urban Gun Violence Initiative, where he oversees an effort to use policy mechanisms to support and promote evidence-based violence intervention strategies aimed at preventing gun violence in America’s most impacted communities.

An expert on gun policy and urban gun violence, Mike authored Giffords Law Center’s groundbreaking 2016 report Healing Communities in Crisis and regularly speaks to state and local leaders on the need to address the day-to-day shootings that fuel America’s gun violence epidemic. In 2017, Mike wrote Investing in Intervention, which examines the critical role of state-level support in breaking the cycle of urban gun violence. He has discussed and debated gun laws on national television, including CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper, and has appeared on a variety of radio programs, including KPCC’s AirTalk with Larry Mantle and WBEZ Chicago’s Morning Shift. Mike has also been quoted extensively by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, CNN, VICE, Mother Jones, and many others.

You can follow Mike on Twitter @mrmclively, where he regularly tweets about issues related to urban gun violence, the economic cost of gun violence, and more.

Prior to joining Giffords Law Center, Mike was a litigation associate at Jones Day, where he worked on matters involving criminal law and immigration law. He received his JD from the University of Virginia, where he served as an editor of the Virginia Law Review, and his BA from the University of California, Berkeley.

Lindsay Nichols

Federal Policy Director

Lindsay Nichols
Lindsay Nichols joined Giffords Law Center in June 2006 as a staff attorney and later senior staff attorney, and is now the organization’s federal policy director. As a leading advocate for gun violence prevention for over a decade, Lindsay has played an essential role in drafting many of the new state laws addressing the epidemic of gun violence in the United States. Bills she has drafted have become laws in Delaware and New Jersey, and particular provisions have been incorporated into laws enacted in California, Illinois, and Washington State. She has also provided organizations and advocates with skilled research and comparative analysis regarding gun laws and legislation on myriad topics, including background checks, domestic violence, concealed carry, and the intersection of mental illness and guns.

In her role as federal policy director, Lindsay provides legal and policy analysis regarding how the gun lobby’s federal agenda would impact state and local communities across the country and helps craft stronger proposals to address gun violence in America. She has testified before Congress and numerous state and local governmental bodies as a gun law expert. Her commentary on firearm policy has been quoted in the Washington Post, the Associated Press, Newsweek, the New York Times, USA Today, Mother Jones, CNN, and many other outlets.

Prior to joining Giffords Law Center, Lindsay was a litigation associate at Severson & Werson, APC, in San Francisco. She earned her BA with Honors from Wesleyan University, an MA from UCLA, and her JD from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, where she was a member of the California Law Review.

Brittany Nieto

Research Associate

Brittany Nieto
Brittany is a research associate supporting Giffords Law Center’s Urban Gun Violence Initiative. Brittany began her career at Giffords Law Center as operations manager in 2016 and joined the legal team in 2017, where she continues to assist with local, state, and federal policy research.

An advocate for underserved communities, Brittany has engaged in a number of progressive causes from the affordability of higher education to marriage equality. Before coming to Giffords Law Center, Brittany worked at Sandstrom and Associates as a marketing and administrative assistant, and graduated from the University of California, Santa Cruz, with a BA in Politics.

David Pucino

Staff Attorney

David Pucino
David Pucino joined Giffords Law Center as a staff attorney in May 2018. As part of Giffords Law Center’s litigation team, David pursues affirmative litigation and defends laws that enhance firearm safety. He drafts and analyzes legislation to promote federal, state, and local policies designed to prevent gun violence. David also helps manage the Firearms Accountability Counsel Taskforce (FACT), a joint effort by Giffords Law Center, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, and the Brennan Center for Justice, working with the nation’s preeminent law firms to reduce gun violence.

Before joining Giffords Law Center, David was a litigation associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. David’s practice included securities and employment matters, as well as extensive work with FACT. He was part of a team that challenged the presidential proclamation banning nationals from Muslim-majority nations from traveling to the United States. David holds a BA from Providence College, an AM in English and American Literature from Washington University in St. Louis, and a JD from Columbia Law School.

Shoshana Schultz

Design Director

Shoshana Schultz is the Design Director at Giffords, which she joined in August 2016 as part of the communications team. She maintains the organization’s visual identity across all platforms and designs digital and print collateral. Shoshana is passionate about the importance of visual design in communicating complex issues. She designs the Annual Gun Law Scorecard, which won a San Francisco Design Week award in the communications category in 2018.

Shoshana moved to the Bay Area from Michigan in 2014. Before joining Giffords, she worked in nonprofit design and communications.

Hannah Shearer

Litigation Director

Hannah Shearer joined Giffords Law Center as a staff attorney and Second Amendment specialist in 2016 and is now the organization’s litigation director. Hannah analyzes court cases involving the Second Amendment and manages Giffords Law Center’s amicus brief program, in which our legal experts participate in crucial firearms litigation as “friends of the court.” Hannah also oversees Giffords Law Center’s legislative work in several states, drafting bills and providing gun policy expertise to legislators and advocates working to enact lifesaving gun laws.

Hannah is the author of Giffords Law Center’s Post-Heller Litigation Summary, a comprehensive survey of Second Amendment decisions issued by state and federal courts since 2008. She regularly provides information and commentary on the Second Amendment and state firearm laws to media outlets, and has been featured in the Los Angeles TimesUS News & World Report, and VICE, among many other publications.

Before joining Giffords Law Center, Hannah worked as a litigation associate at Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP in San Francisco and as a law clerk to Judge Paul J. Watford of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Hannah received her undergraduate degree from Yale University and her JD from Stanford Law School.

Adam Skaggs

Chief Counsel

Adam Skaggs
Adam Skaggs joined Giffords Law Center as litigation director in 2016 and became chief counsel in 2017. Before then, he served as senior counsel at Everytown for Gun Safety, where he led the organization’s litigation efforts and advocated for firearm policies designed to reduce gun violence.

Adam previously served as senior counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice, where he worked on issues related to money in politics, judicial independence, and voting rights. He was a litigation associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison in New York City and a law clerk to Judge Stanley Marcus of the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit and Chief Judge Edward Korman of the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

Adam’s political commentary has been published in the National Law Journal, the New Republic, Politico, the Atlantic, ACSBlog, Slate, Newsweek, and the New York Times, among other publications, and he has been widely quoted by media from the Wall Street Journal and Fox News to the New York Times and MSNBC. Adam graduated summa cum laude with a JD from Brooklyn Law School, where he was a member of the Brooklyn Law Review. He received an MS in Urban Affairs from Hunter College of the City University of New York, and holds a BA, awarded with distinction, from Swarthmore College.

Christine Smith

Pro Bono Director

Christine Smith
Christine Smith joined Giffords Law Center in 2016. Christine works on a variety of projects and policy areas, with a focus on impact litigation and urban gun violence. As the organization’s pro bono director, she corresponds with law firms and attorneys who generously volunteer their assistance with legal research, amicus briefs, and other litigation efforts; drafts, assigns, and reviews research projects; and acts as a liaison between Giffords Law Center’s legal team and our Pro Bono Partners.

Christine is a former prosecutor and criminal defense lawyer from New York City. She worked for the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office in both the trial and appellate divisions, then opened her own civil and criminal practice. Prior to this, she served as law clerk to Chief Judge Robert E. Coyle of the US District Court for the Eastern District of California.

After relocating to Singapore, Christine worked with the Law Society of Singapore’s Pro Bono Services, coordinating the compilation of a criminal law manual for civil law attorneys offering pro bono assistance to indigent defendants. She also taught a Legal Analysis, Writing, and Research course at the National University of Singapore’s Faculty of Law. Christine earned her BA at Smith College and her JD at Fordham University School of Law.

Learn more about how to become a Giffords Law Center Pro Bono Partner.

Kathleen Toohill

Editorial Manager

Kathleen Toohill
Kathleen Toohill joined Giffords Law Center as the organization’s editorial manager in May 2018. As part of Giffords Law Center’s communications team, Kathleen supports the work of the legal and development teams through writing, editing, and project management.

Kathleen is especially interested in the intersection of storytelling and public policy and is a member of 826 Valencia’s Associate Board. Her freelance work has appeared in the New Yorker, the Atlantic, and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, among other places. She received her BA from the University of Notre Dame and her MFA in Writing from the University of San Francisco.

Julia Weber

GVRO Implementation Fellow

Julia Weber
Julia Weber joined Giffords Law Center in 2018 as a fellow focused on gun violence restraining order implementation efforts. She is an expert on domestic violence policy who has spent her career working to develop and implement promising practices to prevent and respond to violence.

Prior to joining Giffords Law Center, Julia worked for over 17 years with the Judicial Council of California’s Center for Families, Children & the Courts, where she served as co-counsel to the Family and Juvenile Law Advisory Committee and supervised the Access to Justice Unit. Julia has staffed many task forces and working groups addressing family law, intimate partner violence, and child welfare, and has extensive experience drafting and implementing protective and restraining orders and firearms relinquishment policies. She presents regularly at conferences and has trained hundreds of court staff nationally on preventing bias in working with victims and survivors, utilizing trauma-informed approaches in providing court services, and using visuals to communicate more effectively about the law.

Julia attended Washington University School of Law and the George Warren Brown School of Social Work, where she obtained her combined degrees in law and social work. She is a trained mediator and a member of the California bar. Julia also serves as an expert witness and is an adjunct professor at Golden Gate School of Law, where she teaches domestic violence law.