DLGA partnered with leading gun safety groups, elected officials, advocates and survivors to discuss efforts and actions on gun violence prevention
WASHINGTON: News outlets reported on the Democratic Lieutenant Governors Association’s “first-of-its-kind” Gun Violence Prevention Policy Summit in partnership with Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, March for Our Lives, GIFFORDS, and the American Federation of Teachers.
As the Messenger reported, “with Congress gridlocked and without a House Speaker, statewide elected Democrats are convening in Washington on Tuesday to find solutions to solve the gun violence epidemic in America.” Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor and DLGA Gun Violence Prevention Coalition Chair Austin Davis highlighted the DLGA’s commitment “to take on the epidemic of gun violence” in each state.
States Newsroom noted that “many of the speakers were survivors of gun violence themselves, and shared their stories throughout the panels, which prioritized different angles on the topic of gun violence.”
POLITICO reported that after the summit, lieutenant governors met with the White House’s Office of Gun Violence Prevention “to find solutions to solve the gun violence epidemic in America.” Lieutenant Governors and leaders with the Office of Gun Violence Prevention “talked openly about concerns and the need to ensure the funding is equitable from state to state.” With Lieutenant Governors leading on this issue in their states, including in Pennsylvania, White House officials heard about state efforts and “were particularly interested in Pennsylvania’s universal background check legislation.”
Check out the coverage below:
The Messenger: Democratic Lieutenant Governors Set to Convene for First-Of-Its-Kind Gun Violence Prevention Summit (Exclusive)
October 23, 2023
By Matt Holt
With Congress gridlocked and without a House Speaker, statewide elected Democrats are convening in Washington on Tuesday to find solutions to solve the gun violence epidemic in America.
The Democratic Lieutenant Governors’ Association will hold a Gun Violence Prevention Summit in Washington, alongside leading gun violence prevention groups like Everytown for Gun Safety, March For Our Lives, GIFFORDS, and the American Federation of Teachers. The DLGA is solely dedicated to elected Democratic Lieutenant Governors around the country.
The policy summit is the first of its kind and will bring together key stakeholders and state leaders to discuss best practices on how to pass gun safety legislation and create safer communities.
“We’re going to take on the epidemic of gun violence,” said Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. Austin Davis in an interview with The Messenger. Davis, who serves as the chair of the Gun Violence Prevention Coalition within the DLGA, noted that other organizations like the Democratic Governors Association, the Republican Governors Association, and the Republican Lieutenant Governor’s Association don’t typically convene policy summits on key issues.
“I think what’s clear, which most of us knew before the last 15 days, but what became even clearer is that Congress is in chaos and is unable to do their most basic functions, let alone deliver results for their constituents,” he continued. “Governors and lieutenant governors are forced to act because we know the federal government isn’t isn’t going to provide the resources that our constituents deserve.
The gun violence epidemic is personal for Davis, who was born and raised in Allegheny County. When he was 15 years old, gun violence in his neighborhood led him to go to a city council meeting and start a youth anti-violence organization. He was first elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 2018 and won the 2022 Lt. Gov. primary, joining now-Gov. Josh Shapiro on a ticket that won in a landslide.
“This has been the cause of my life,” he told The Messenger. “And I’m just so happy to be bringing lieutenant governors from around the country together to share the work that we’ve been doing in Pennsylvania and to hopefully encourage them to continue to do the work that they’re doing in their respective states.”
POLITICO: West Wing Playbook: Guns. Still on Biden’s radar.
October 23, 2023
By Myah Ward, Lauren Egan, and Lawrence Ukenye
On Tuesday, leaders from the month-old Office of Gun Violence Prevention met with a group of state leaders right after the first-ever Democratic Lieutenant Governors Association gun violence prevention summit. The group gathered in a room on the first floor of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building to tackle implementation of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, gaps in the federal gun violence response, new executive actions and ways to improve services for survivors and victims.
“The one thing that stood out was [the White House] looking for more ideas on executive actions they can take, because it sends a message that they want to do more,” said AUSTIN DAVIS, the 34-year-old lieutenant governor of Pennsylvania. “And they’re looking to expand partnerships with state and local governments, so they really encouraged us to consider creating offices of gun violence prevention within the states to help feed the work that they’re doing.”
[…] State leaders on Tuesday discussed Department of Justice resources for community safety funds. The group talked openly about concerns and the need to ensure the funding is equitable from state to state.
There is an eye, as well, on trying to use states and municipalities as laboratories for future progress. White House officials were particularly interested in Pennsylvania’s universal background check legislation, and Feldman’s team already has another meeting on the schedule for tomorrow to discuss the state’s law further.
“Oftentimes, at the state level, we’re all in our individual silos, and we’re all kind of head down doing the work with our respective territories,” Davis said. “This office will have a national lens to look at gun violence prevention from a national perspective, and really be able to see the hotspots and help make connections for local and state governments on the ground that are doing the work.”
States Newsroom: Democratic lieutenant governors, advocates, discuss solutions to prevent gun violence
October 25, 2023
By Samantha Dietel
WASHINGTON — Six lieutenant governors from across the country joined gun violence prevention advocates to share their stories and offer solutions at a policy discussion event Tuesday.
The Democratic Lieutenant Governors Association hosted the gun violence prevention policy summit, which was the first event of its kind. The DLGA partnered with the gun violence prevention advocacy groups Everytown for Gun Safety, March for Our Lives and Giffords, as well as the labor union American Federation of Teachers, for the event.
Many of the speakers were survivors of gun violence themselves, and shared their stories throughout the panels, which prioritized different angles on the topic of gun violence.
The first panel focused on justice for victims of gun violence and holding the firearms industry accountable for its role in perpetuating gun violence, while the second panel highlighted ways to help youth to feel safe in their communities, including at school. The third panel concluded the event by focusing on “disarming” hate.
More broadly, panelists said tackling a variety of issues, such as poverty, access to quality education and more are necessary steps to preventing gun violence.
Gilchrist said gun violence is an issue that “confronts literally every American.”
“There’s not an American you can talk to who does not have some direct connection to the issue of gun violence and doesn’t have an interest in having fewer people die in gun-related deaths,” Gilchrist said.
Gilchrist talked about his experience on April 30, 2020, when armed protestors entered the Michigan State Capitol calling for an end to the state’s COVID-19 safer-at-home order.
He said that at the time, the Michigan Capitol was one of two state capitol buildings in the country that allowed people to bring firearms into the building. That has since changed, he said.
“We still see people sort of bumping up against that policy,” Gilchrist said.
Gilchrist described seeing people line up — with guns — along both sides of the sidewalk on his usual path into the Capitol building.
Gilchrist, who highlighted his state’s recent passage of background checks and storage laws, said there “absolutely needs to be accountability” for those who make, manufacture, market and distribute firearms.
Skaggs said the “irresponsible marketing and advertising” of specific gun companies have promoted white supremacist and extremist logos.
“We have gun companies that are kind of appealing to the lowest common denominator, if you want to think of it that way,” Skaggs said.
Skaggs said that because governments are “significant consumers” in the firearm industry, governments should then look at their suppliers. Those suppliers may then, in turn, “hold themselves to higher standards,” Skaggs said.
The event’s second panel highlighted survivors of gun violence, including Teachers Unify to End Gun Violence executive director and co-founder Abbey Clements.
“Gun violence lives in classrooms across the country,” said Clements, who is a teacher and survivor of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut. A gunman entered the school and killed 26 people — 20 students and six adults.
Clements said there is a “love” and “deep connection” between herself and her students who also survived.
Davis said that when he was a kid, he had a defining experience with gun violence. There was a shooting outside his home, where he was with his mom.
“I remember the look on her face, and how terrified she was,” Davis said. “And I think that was the first time where she felt like she couldn’t protect us from what were outside forces.”
The impact of gun violence on his community inspired him to get involved with activism.
“As I’ve traveled my entire career, I’ve seen that same look in the face of mothers and community members’ eyes all across Pennsylvania, and really all across this country,” Davis said. “That same feeling of hopelessness, that same feeling of being trapped in a community.”
Davis said that in order to curb gun violence, there need to be greater investments in community-based programs and “attack the root causes of poverty.”
This means investing in education systems and workforce development programs, Davis said.
“We’re only going to tackle this if we take on all those things and take over a comprehensive approach to prevention,” Davis said.
Flanagan said it is important to invest in mental health care for students both inside and outside of school. She said it is also important for schools to have the financial support they need to hire and keep mental health professionals.
“That’s not gonna be covered by certain policies, certain grants, but that is violence prevention,” Bosley said. “I’m showing them the different side of the city they live in that they would never experience, to make them look at life differently.”
During the third and final panel of the event, panelists discussed the banning of assault weapons, the intersection of domestic violence and gun violence, as well as the repealing of “Stand Your Ground” laws.
Sirius XM: Lieutenant Governor of PA Austin Davis with Julie Mason
October 23, 2023
WILX: Lt. Gov. Gilchrist on Gun Violence Prevention
October 24, 2023
WGAL: Lt. Gov. Davis on Gun Violence Prevention
October 24, 2023
By Jake Reyes
Gun violence prevention will be the focus of a summit Tuesday in Washington, D.C., and for Pennsylvania Lt. Governor Austin Davis, the issue is personal.
Davis is joining other gun safety advocates of the first Gun Violence Prevention Summit hosted by the Democratic Lt. Governors Association.
[…] The gun violence epidemic is personal for Davis, who was born and raised in Allegheny County.
When he was 15 years old, gun violence in his neighborhood led him to go to a city council meeting and start a youth anti-violence organization.
In a statement to News 8, the Lt. Governor said “I’m proud to be collaborating with my fellow lieutenant governors as we lead the charge for common-sense action on gun violence prevention. As congress is paralyzed by dysfunction this week, lieutenant governors and gun safety advocates are coming together to share best practices and move the needle forward on solutions.”
WCAX: Lt. Gov. Zuckerman on Addressing Gun Violence
October 24, 2023