Brief #12—Gun Control

Policy Summary
As endorsements begin to roll out for candidates in the 2018 midterms, the gun advocacy PAC, Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence, raised eyebrows for two of their endorsements. Specifically, their endorsements of Republican Representatives Leonard Lance and Chris Smith in New Jersey came as a surprise to many as Lance’s reelection is now being contended by Democrats, who haven’t held the seat since 1978. The endorsement highlights Lance’s ideological shift and willingness to work across the aisle.

The PAC was founded by Gabby Giffords after she was left wounded by gun violence in 2011 meeting with her constituents. Since 2013, Giffords has been able to enact more than 200 new pieces of gun legislation in 45 states and Washington, D.C. Their main mission is to promote bipartisan solutions to the gun epidemic in America. Here you can find the full list of candidates Giffords endorses.

Their political goal to work towards a bipartisan solution has caused some surprise in New Jersey as Republican incumbent Rep. Lance has been endorsed by Giffords in a race that many are calling a tossup. This endorsement may be enough to give Lance a slight edge over the democratic candidate, Tom Malinowski come November.

Looking at Lance’s record, he has deviated from his party by working on 6 different bills for the advancement of gun control, including banning bump stocks and voting ‘no’ on the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act which would allow concealed carry in any state. In 2012 Rep. Lance campaigned on his high approval rating by the NRA, showing his evolution on common sense gun control in just six years.

Although there is still work to be done to reach bipartisan solutions to America’s ever-growing gun violence epidemic, Giffords works to endorse candidates on both sides of the aisle which in turn can encourage more efficient gun legislation and less inaction by Congress.

Engagement Resources

  • March For Our Lives – an organization started after the Parkland school shooting which aims to unify advocates for gun control around relevant issues. You can also find more information about the  Road to Change tour on their website. Consider donating or canvassing during the midterm elections on these issues with this organization.
  • Everytown – A movement of Americans working to end gun violence and build safer communities.
  • – A resource to utilize if you need to register, are unfamiliar with voter ID requirements, or election processes so you can be ready by November.


This Brief was written by USRESIST NEWS Analyst Sarah Barton:

Photo by annie bolin

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