New Campaign Ensures Guns Are Kept Out Of The Voting BoothOctober 22, 2018
Campaign will reach more than 2 million voters following two incidents involving guns in polling places in Ohio and Virginia during the 2016 election
WASHINGTON — As early voting kicks off in many states and with media reports that hate groups have begun showing up with guns at rallies and political events with increasing frequency over the last two years, advocates are launching a voter protection campaign to keep guns out of the voting booth and keep voters safe.
According to the nonprofit Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, only six states — Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas — have clear laws that generally prohibit guns in polling places. In 2016, Huffington Post reported that a man was spotted loitering outside a polling place while open carrying a handgun. And in Ohio in 2016, a man threatened to return to a polling place with a gun.
The campaign is running on Facebook, Twitter and mobile phones encouraging voters who see people with firearms to text “Guns Down” to 91990. The reports will be sent to nonpartisan election protection experts. The campaign is targeted to competitive elections in places with high levels of gun ownership, including polling places in Florida, Texas, Indiana, Nevada, Wisconsin, Colorado and Georgia.
“A deeply troubling trend has emerged since Donald Trump was elected of gun owners bringing their firearms to rallies and political events,” said Guns Down Executive Director Igor Volsky.“Given the troubling political rhetoric we’ve seen over the last two years, and that guns are far too easy to obtain, this campaign will help the majority of Americans who believe that fewer guns keeps us safer fight back and cast their ballots free from fear of intimidation.”
The campaign is being led by Guns Down America, The Brady Campaign, the Center for American Progress, Florida Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, Media Matters, and States United to Prevent Gun Violence.
Media Matters has found numerous examples of gun owners bringing firearms to political rallies and protests after the election of Donald Trump. In Portland, members of “Patriot Prayer” brought loaded firearms to a roof before a protest in August. In Indianapolis, a man brought a rifle and open carried it at an event that was being held by March for Our Lives, something that also happened at a Florida event held to counter March for Our Lives.
Guns Down is a bolder, broader movement calling for dramatically fewer guns in America, and for making them dramatically harder to get.