Newtown Action Alliance and States United to Prevent Gun Violence Action Fund Endorse Katie McGinty for U.S. Senate

For Immediate Release

October 13, 2016


Julia Wyman

John Kelley

Newtown Action Alliance and States United to Prevent Gun Violence Action Fund Endorse Katie McGinty for U.S. Senate

Newtown, CT- Along with the obvious choice Americans have in the race for President, there are some critically important U.S. Senate and House races that could make the difference between true progress on common sense gun violence prevention or more of the same where Congress sits idle while 100,000 Americans are being killed or injured by guns every year.

One of those critical races is in the State of Pennsylvania. In that race, Newtown Action Alliance and States United to Prevent Gun Violence Action Fund proudly endorse former environmental official Katie McGinty in her challenge to incumbent Senator Pat Toomey.

Secretary McGinty is a daughter of a Philadelphia police officer and as a mother of three daughters; she is committed to ending gun violence prevention in our nation. She supports a ban on civilian sales of military style weapons and high capacity magazines-such as the weapons that devastated the Newtown community four years ago when a gunman with severe mental illness killed 20 innocent children and six educators in an elementary school in Sandy Hook, Connecticut. She is quoted as saying, “As someone who comes from a family of hunters and gun-owners, I see no clear reason for private citizens to buy and own military assault weapons and magazines that allow people to shoot multiple rounds at a time.” Secretary McGinty is also unequivocally in favor of universal background checks on sale of all guns, closing the terror gap, and allowing federal funds to be used for gun violence prevention research.

While we appreciate that her opponent, incumbent Senator Toomey, has not been an implacable foe of gun violence prevention measures, like many of his Republican colleagues, he has not made gun violence prevention his legislative priority. After the Sandy Hook shooting, Senator Toomey worked with Democratic Senator Joe Manchin (WV) on the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2013 (aka Manchin-Toomey) to close the loopholes in the National Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Regrettably, this bill also expands gun rights in many ways. The bill explicitly bans the federal government from creating a registry and creates new penalty for misusing records to create a registry-making it a felony punishable by 15 years in prison; allows interstate handgun sales from licensed dealers; allows dealer-to-dealer sales at gun shows taking place in a state in which they are not a resident; and requires that if a background check does not result in a definitive response from NICS within 48 hours, the sale may proceed. In fact, after four years, when the NICS improvements are completed, the background check would be required to clear in 24 hours. The Charleston shooter who gunned down nine people at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, should have been barred from purchasing the gun due to an earlier drug arrest but the sale went through because under the current federal law, the NICS has three business days to finish vetting a gun buyer, or the sale can proceed.

Regrettably, Senator Toomey has been inconsistent with his support for gun violence prevention. After the horrific Orlando Pulse Nightclub shooting, he voted against Senator Christopher Murphy’s (D-CT) stronger universal background check proposal and Senator Diane Feinstein’s (D-CT) proposal to prohibit those on the terror watch list from purchasing guns.

Secretary McGinty has pledged to support Ceasefire Pennsylvania’s legislative priorities including universal background checks for firearms sales; a renewal and strengthening of the Assault Weapons Ban, a ban on high capacity magazines, banning firearms sales to individuals on the federal Terror Watch Lists and prohibiting those convicted of misdemeanor hate crimes from purchasing firearms. Regrettably, Senator Toomey did not commit to supporting these common sense gun safety measures.

The Senate has failed to protect innocent Americans from gun violence. Over 400,000 Americans have been killed or injured by guns since the Sandy Hook tragedy. According to the Gun Violence Archive, guns have killed nearly 1,500 Pennsylvanians and injured over 3,300 additional residents since 2014.

Senator Toomey’s inconsistent support for gun violence prevention on the Senate floor will not be enough to reduce gun deaths and injuries in Pennsylvania and in the United States. We need a true champion of change, who will go toe-to-toe with the corporate gun lobby. It’s time for Pennsylvania to send Secretary McGinty to Capitol Hill so that she can champion for the families of victims and survivors to end the tragic but preventable scourge of gun violence in our nation.

The Newtown Action Alliance ( is a grassroots organization formed after the tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. It works to make America’s children, families, and all citizens safer through legislative and cultural change that will reduce gun violence. Newtown Action Alliance is a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization.

States United to Prevent Gun Violence Action Fund, Inc. ( is a 501 (C) (4) civic and education organization dedicated to preventing gun violence in all forms.

This endorsement is made independently and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.