While Vice President Harris Launches Initiative To Save Lives, MAGA Republicans Continue To Side With Gun Lobby Over Our Communities

In response to Vice President Harris launching the Biden-Harris administration’s Safer States Initiative, DNC National Press Secretary Sarafina Chitika released the following statement: 

“Just one day before the country marks 11 years since the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, President Biden and Vice President Harris continue to demonstrate what it means to honor gun violence survivors with action. Today, the Biden-Harris administration is doubling down on providing states with the resources they need to save lives while Donald Trump and MAGA Republicans continue to pledge their loyalty to the gun lobby over the safety of our communities. Instead of proposing real solutions, Republicans, including MAGA Mike Johnson, have railed against bipartisan, commonsense solutions and have called for more guns on our streets, not less. The choice in 2024 is clear: Democrats will continue fighting for commonsense gun reform because the safety of our children and our communities are more important than bending the knee to the gun lobby.”

Today, Vice President Harris launched the Biden-Harris administration’s Safer States Initiative to provide states with tools to protect our communities — which comes after President Biden established the first-ever White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention in September.

White House Fact Sheet: “Vice President Harris Launches the Biden-⁠Harris Administration Safer States Initiative, Highlights New Executive Actions to Reduce Gun Violence”

“In September 2023, President Biden established the first-ever White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention, overseen by Vice President Kamala Harris. President Biden tasked the office with four key responsibilities, including enhancing the federal government’s partnerships with cities and states to help them advance their own efforts to reduce gun violence.

“Today, Vice President Harris is launching the Biden-Harris Administration’s Safer States Initiative to provide states with additional tools and the support they need to reduce gun violence and save lives. … In the months ahead, the White House Office of Gun Violence Prevention will continue to proactively work with states to make sure they have additional resources and support needed to advance these agenda items.”

Donald Trump gave into the NRA after taunting Republicans for being beholden to them and backtracked on his promise to take action on gun violence after the devastating Parkland shooting, making it clear that he cares more about the gun lobby than the American people.

Trump: “There’s no bigger fan of the NRA [than me].”

New York Magazine: “After Taunting Republicans for Being Afraid of NRA, Trump Gives In to NRA”

New York Times: “Conceding to N.R.A., Trump Abandons Brief Gun Control Promise”

“President Trump on Monday abandoned his promise to work for gun control measures opposed by the National Rifle Association, bowing to the gun group and embracing its agenda of armed teachers and incremental improvements to the background check system.”

New York Magazine: “President Trump met with survivors of the Parkland school shooting and attempted to convey a sincere intention to act. … What happened next was predictable. Trump met with the head of the NRA. He stopped talking about the issue he was going to solve.”

NBC News: “Trump says mass shootings are not ‘a gun problem’ as 2024 GOP hopefuls pledge loyalty to the NRA”

Fortune: “For instance, in 2020, the NRA alone spent over $12 million campaigning against Biden and another $4.5 million in favor of Donald Trump.”

Yahoo News: “The gun-rights group spent $54 million during the 2016 election cycle, including $30 million to help Donald Trump get elected president.”

Trump: “And there’s no bigger fan of the Second Amendment than me, and there’s no bigger fan of the NRA. And these guys are great patriots. They’re great people.”

Politico: “Former President Donald Trump on Friday addressed the National Rifle Association’s annual conference in Houston, slamming Democrats for their positions on gun control and pointing to mental health as the root cause of mass shootings just three days after a gunman killed 19 children and two teachers at a Texas elementary school.”

CNN: “A slew of 2024 GOP presidential hopefuls courted gun rights activists Friday at a National Rifle Association convention in Indianapolis that took place in the wake of mass shootings in Kentucky and Tennessee in recent days. Former President Donald Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence – the former ticket-mates who have split over Trump’s actions leading up to and during the January 6, 2021, attack on the US Capitol – attended the gathering, and lambasted President Joe Biden.”

Nikki Haley still refuses to support gun safety legislation, and she opposed expanding background checks in the wake of the tragic shooting at Mother Emanuel AME Church when she was governor of South Carolina.

USA Today: “‘You’ve always got a partner in me,’ Haley told NRA delegates.”

USA Today: “After Nashville school shooting, Nikki Haley tells voters she is against gun control legislation”

“Nikki Haley’s town hall here in one of the first primary states opened against the backdrop of a deadly school shooting in Nashville, Tennessee. The Republican presidential hopeful started her pitch by addressing the shooting and telling voters she wants more metal detectors, not more gun control legislation. She called for schools to have one entrance and to use the metal detectors there.” 

Washington Times: “South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley on Sunday said the botched FBI background check that allowed the man accused of the massacre at a historic black church in Charleston to buy the handgun used in the attack is tragic but does not justify expanding such checks.”

Ron DeSantis signed a bill earlier this year that could make it easier for criminals to carry guns — and even said he would “absolutely” be willing to go further.

NBC News: “With little fanfare, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation Monday allowing residents to carry a concealed loaded weapon without a permit. DeSantis signed the bill in a nonpublic event in his office with only bill sponsors, legislative leaders and gun rights advocates, including the National Rifle Association, in attendance.” 

Tampa Bay Times: “Gov. Ron DeSantis was recorded Thursday telling a member of a gun rights group that he supports allowing Floridians to openly carry guns in public — a measure that has been publicly opposed by some law enforcement officials and that would go further than any bill now filed for the upcoming legislative session.”

“‘Yeah, absolutely,’ DeSantis is heard to say during a 10-second interaction recorded by Valdes and shared with the Times. ‘I don’t think they’re going to do it, but I would absolutely.’”

WMUR: “Would you, as president, sign a bill that would allow for national concealed carry of permitted firearms for responsible gun owners?

DeSantis: “Yes.”

Vivek Ramaswamy spoke at the NRA convention this year just days after the mass shooting in Nashville and has said everyone — including former felons — should be able to carry dangerous weapons.

Fox News: “GOP hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy to call for shut down of ATF, expanded 2A rights in NRA convention speech”

Forbes: “‘Second Amendment Absolutist’ Ramaswamy Endorses Gun Ownership For Convicted Felons”

Ramaswamy: “I do think concealed carry is important, constitutional carry is important.”

MSNBC: “Vivek Ramaswamy is exploiting the Maine shooting to spread cruel health myths”

Chris Christie has repeatedly opposed commonsense gun safety legislation — including in the wake of Sandy Hook and other devastating mass shootings.

Washington Post: “New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) late Friday vetoed a bill to ban a powerful model of assault weapon that he initially advocated in the wake of last December’s elementary school shootings in Newtown, Conn. The bill that passed New Jersey’s Democratic legislature would have prohibited the Barrett .50 caliber long-range rifle. Although Christie this spring proposed a ban on future sales of the firearm, he vetoed the ultimate bill because he said it went too far, requiring residents who already own the rifle to give theirs up.”

New York Times: “Families of children killed in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School lashed out at Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey on Wednesday for vetoing a gun control bill that would have banned the sales of ammunition magazines larger than 10 rounds, after he dismissed it as a ‘trivial approach’ to gun violence and ‘the embodiment of reform in name only.’”

Reuters: “Christie, seen as a potential candidate for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, also conditionally vetoed two other bills designed to curb gun violence, sending them back to the state legislature with language that the Democrat-controlled body was unlikely to accept. The two measures would have created laws requiring law enforcement to report lost and stolen gun data to a federal database, embed information about gun permits onto a driver’s license, create instant background checks and require safety training for gun owners.” 

NJ.com: “On the heels of the shooting of four U.S. servicemen at a Chattanooga military recruitment center and nine churchgoers in Charleston, S.C., Christie was asked by a questioner at Chapanga’s Griddle & Grill for his position on assault weapons. ‘We need an attorney general who’s going to understand that we don’t need to pass new laws,’ said Christie, ‘We have plenty of laws on the books to stop this.’ … ‘On the issue of assault weapons, here’s the problem,’ said Christie. ‘No matter what laws we pass, the folks who commit these crimes are not looking to do a background check at the local gun store to buy their gun. They’re buying them from other criminals.’”

New speaker MAGA Mike Johnson has pushed wild claims that gun violence and school shootings are linked to abortion and the “secularization of American society” and has an extreme legislative record that includes opposing commonsense gun safety reforms.

Axios: “Speaker Johnson on shootings: ‘Problem is the human heart, not guns’”

America’s 1st Freedom, NRA: “[Johnson] has been endorsed, consistently, by the NRA Political Victory Fund (PVF) since he was first elected to Congress in 2016.”

Johnson: “[The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act] is the wrong approach, and we ought to oppose it.”

Johnson voted against assault weapons bans and red flags laws that keep Americans safe, and backed highly controversial measures like concealed carry. Johnson also cosponsored a bill that would have made it easier for guns to be sold across state lines, including at gun shows, and that would make it harder for law enforcement to enforce background checks. 

Johnson: “Nearly 45 million babies have been sacrificed in the name of ‘personal choice.’ That staggering number represents somewhere between one-half and one-third of my entire generation. The magnitude of this is hard to imagine. If you graduated from high school in the last three decades, your class should have been twice as large as it was. Your choices in marital partners have been limited by half. Social Security wouldn’t be in a crisis with all those able workers. And we wouldn’t have this ‘culture of death,’ where euthanasia has become all the rage, where kids shoot other kids because they’ve learned that life has no real value.”

Johnson: “[Nancy Pelosi] said guns are the number one killer of children in America. That is not true. Abortion violence is the number one killer of children in America, until today. There is no right to abortion in the Constitution. And, thankfully, the Supreme Court finally said that decisively. Thanks be to God.”

Johnson: “Democrats have claimed gun-free school zones promote school safety, but arming teachers and school administrators would mean well-trained adults would be at the ready to protect themselves and the innocent children in their care. … Tragically, the elementary school in Uvalde banned people from carrying firearms.”

Johnson: “Our colleagues have made some outrageous claims here in this hearing. They claim for example that raising the purchasing age for semi-automatic rifles and shotguns to 21 will reduce school shootings. As has been noted, this action has already been ruled unconstitutional.”

Johnson: “My Democrat colleagues are going to tell you that this bill will save lives. … the red flag laws in all these states have had no significant effect on the rates of murder, suicide, or the number of people killed in mass public shootings.”