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Gabrielle Giffords and New Mexico Leaders Announce “New Mexico Coalition for Common Sense"

  Commentary: SANTA FE, NM- Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, the Co-Founder of Americans for Responsible Solutions, joined with New Mexico leaders today at the State Capitol to announce a new coalition, the “New Mexico Coalition for Common Sense.” The coalition’s members - which includes gun owners, law enforcement officials, veterans, community advocates, prosecutors, educators, ranchers, physicians and domestic violence prevention advocates - will urge their elected officials to advance policies that help keep guns out of the wrong hands and prevent gun tragedies while protecting the rights of law-abiding Americans to own firearms.

The coalition’s leaders will fight for commonsense solutions that will help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, like:

  • Protecting women and families by making sure that domestic abusers don't have access to firearms;

  • Closing the loopholes in our gun laws that let felons, domestic abusers, and the dangerously mentally ill buy guns in New Mexico without a background check;

  • Ensuring lawmakers and stakeholders have the resources and training they need to prevent gun violence and strengthen existing laws; and

  • Strengthening our existing federal background checks system by making sure it contains state records.

Members of the New Mexico Coalition for Common Sense include:

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Co-Founder, Americans for Responsible Solutions

Captain Mark Kelly, USN (Ret.), Co-Founder, Americans for Responsible Solutions

Dr. Pamela Arenella, M.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry, University of New Mexico     

Dr. Harold Bailey, Ph.D., President, Albuquerque NAACP

Charles "Chuck" Barth, Assistant U.S. Attorney (former), District of New Mexico

Rus Bradburd, Associate Professor, New Mexico State University

The Honorable Mark D'Antonio, District Attorney, Third Judicial District

Kelly Famiglietta, President, Domestic Violence Resource Center, Inc.

Sheriff Manuel Gonzales III, Bernalillo County

Pamelya P. Herndon, Executive Director, Southwest Women's Law Center

Commander William Mackin, USN (Ret.)

Juliann Salinas, Associate Director, Enlace Comunitario

Don Schreiber, Owner, Devil's Spring Ranch         

Jane Schreiber, Owner, Devil's Spring Ranch

The Honorable Marco Serna, District Attorney, First Judicial District

Dr. Steven Shackley, Ph.D., Director, Geoarchaeological XRF Lab

Sergeant Eric Threlkeld, Eddy County Sheriff's Office

The Honorable Raúl Torrez, District Attorney, Second Judicial District Attorney

Sheriff Enrique "Kiki" Vigil, Doña Ana County

Miranda Viscoli, Co-President, New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence

“Stopping gun violence takes courage - the courage to do what's right, and the courage of new ideas. I’ve seen great courage when my life was on the line,” said Congresswoman Giffords in a speech at this morning’s announcement. “Now is the time to come together - to be responsible! Democrats, Republicans - everyone.”

“New Mexico’s gun violence crisis is particularly tragic for women and families,” said Miranda Viscoli, Co-President, New Mexicans to Prevent Gun Violence. “We have seen firsthand how guns are used to intimidate, injure, and kill women and children. In the past eight months in New Mexico, eight children ages 3-17 have been shot and killed by their fathers or mothers' ex-partner. Two of the mothers were killed and one critically injured. We must work to hold lawmakers accountable for fixing the gaps in our laws that make it easy for abusers to get guns.”

“Throughout my career as a prosecutor here in New Mexico, I’ve had a front row seat to the adverse impact gun violence has upon New Mexico’s families, as well as the barriers that prosecutors and law enforcement face in keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, said Marco Serna, District Attorney, Office of the First Judicial District Attorney. “It’s time for our leaders here in New Mexico to take some commonsense steps to keep guns out of the wrong hands.”

“As a gun owner and a rancher here in New Mexico, I'm looking for leaders who will take responsible steps to keep guns out of the wrong hands while protecting the rights of law-abiding New Mexicans. That's what makes our families and workplaces safer,” said Don Schreiber, Owner, Devil’s Spring Ranch. “Congresswoman Giffords is just such a leader.  I'm honored to join her and my fellow New Mexicans today for the launch of this new and badly-needed effort to build safer communities.”


Each Year, Over 30,000 Americans Die From Gun Violence. Every day, roughly 88 Americans are killed with guns, and nearly 12,000 Americans are murdered with a gun each year. [WISQARS Injury Mortality Reports, 1999-2010]

Americans Are Roughly 20 Times More Likely To Be Murdered With A Gun Than People in Other Peer Countries. [Journal of Trauma, Injury, Infection, and Critical Care, 2011]

The Number of Shootings Is On The Rise. While the number of gun murders in the U.S. has remained constant, the number of shootings has been increasing. The number of non-fatal gunshot wounds rose more than 50 percent between 2001 and 2013. [Everytown for Gun Safety, 2014]

Women in the United States Are Eleven Times More Likely to be Murdered with a Gun than Women in Other Developed Countries. More than half of all murders of America’s women are committed with a gun.[Centers for Disease Control, 2012] More than two-thirds of spouse and ex-spouse homicide victims between 1980 and 2008 were killed with firearms.[Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2011] In 2013, a gun was the most commonly used weapon in a murder of a woman by a man.[Violence Policy Center, 2015]

Abused Women in the United States are Five Times More Likely to be Killed by Their Abuser if That Individual has Access to a Gun.[Centers for Disease Control, 2012]


The Gun-Death Rate In New Mexico Is Roughly 40 Percent Higher Than The National Average. [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]

From 2001 To 2010, At Least 2,932 People Were Killed By Guns In New Mexico. [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]

Since 1998, The Federal Background Check System Has Blocked At Least 26,424 Prohibited Gun Sales In New Mexico, including 13,651 sales to convicted felons and 3,374 sales to domestic abusers and domestic violence protection order recipients. [Everytown]

Between 2000 - 2011, New Mexico Had A Higher Rate Of Law Enforcement Officers Killed With A Handgun That Was Not Their Own Than Any Other State In The Country.[Everytown]


In New Mexico, Criminal Background Checks Are Only Required At Licensed Firearms Dealers - Not Online And At Gun Shows. Today, under federal law, certain categories of dangerous individuals, known as prohibited purchasers, such as convicted felons, domestic abusers and some dangerously mentally ill people, are prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms. Under the Brady Act, when a person attempts to purchase a gun from a licensed dealer, the dealer runs a check through the National Instant Criminal Background Check (NICS) system to determine whether a potential buyer is prohibited from purchasing firearms. If information in NICS indicates that a person is prohibited from legally purchasing a firearm, the dealer must deny the sale. But these federal NICS background checks are not required for private sales - which include sales conducted at gun shows and online. Because New Mexico law follows federal law, criminal background checks are required only at federally licensed firearms dealers, but not for private sales, including online and at gun shows. [Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, 2015]

Where They Are Required, Federal Background Checks Are Quick And Effective. Ninety-one percent of background checks are completed instantaneously, and since the NICS system has been in place, over 196 million background checks have been conducted, and over two million firearms sales to prohibited purchasers have been denied. [Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2014] [Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2010]

States That Require Criminal Background Checks For All Handgun Sales Have Seen Drops In Their Gun Violence Rates. In the seventeen states and the District of Columbia that already require background checks for all handgun sales, 46 percent fewer women are shot to death by their intimate partners, there are 48 percent fewer firearms suicides and 48 percent fewer law enforcement officers are shot to death by handguns. Conversely, after Missouri repealed its law in 2007 that required background checks on all handgun sales, gun homicides increased by 25 percent in the state. [Everytown for Gun Safety, 2015] [Everytown for Gun Safety, 2015] [Everytown for Gun Safety, 2015] [Webster, Crifasi, Vernick, 2014]

New Mexicans Support Closing Loopholes in the Background Checks Laws. A recent poll of New Mexico voters found that a broad majority of New Mexicans favor closing New Mexico’s background check loophole. Among the survey’s findings: 87 percent of New Mexico voters support requiring background checks on all firearms sales, including 84% of gun owners and 78% of Republicans. [Research Polling Inc.]

92% Of Americans Support Criminal Background Checks For All Gun Sales. According to research conducted in June 2016, 92% of Americans support requiring criminal background checks for all gun sales. In research conducted in 2014, 92 percent of gun owners said they supported requiring background checks for all gun sales. [CNN/ORC]


Founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and Navy combat veteran and retired NASA astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS) is committed to advancing commonsense change that makes communities safer from gun violence. Learn more at www.responsiblesolutions.org and at @Resp_Solutions.

Connect with Gabby Giffords, Mark Kelly, and ARS:

Twitter: @GabbyGiffords@ShuttleCDRKelly, and @Resp_Solutions

Instagram: @GabbyGiffords

Facebook: www.facebook.com/AmericansForResponsibleSolutions

Website: www.responsiblesolutions.org