Since U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy (FL-7) introduced HR 1478, the Gun Violence Research Act, there have been 373 mass shootings in the U.S. HR 1478 would restore federal funding to gun violence research, which has been banned since the 1990s. Pride Fund, founded after the massacre at Pulse nightclub in Orlando in June 2016, made its first endorsement, for Murphy, in her underdog Congressional race. It was the first endorsement she received.
“This is why our work matters,” said Jason Lindsay, founder and executive director of Pride Fund. “Pride Fund’s top-targeted race in 2016 was Stephanie Murphy’s campaign because we knew she would be a new, driving force in Congress to advance our issues of commonsense gun reform and LGBTQ equality. We applaud Congresswoman Murphy for her steadfast leadership on both fronts, and for introducing the Gun Violence Research Act, commonsense legislation that will undoubtedly save lives.”
Murphy was motivated to enter her 2016 race against 12 term Republican incumbent Rep. John Mica after the shooting at Pulse, which is located just blocks away from the 7th District. She campaigned heavily on the issues of gun reform and advancing LGBTQ equality. In addition to the Gun Violence Research Act, Murphy also co-sponsored the Equality Act, which would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity among the prohibited categories of discrimination or segregation in places of public accommodation.
“Pride Fund was my first endorsement and was critical to our campaign for jobs, security, and equality. Gun violence prevention was a major focal point of my campaign, and Pride Fund’s deep ties with the Pulse and Orlando community helped mobilize gun safety activists across the country to take action in my race. It’s unacceptable to me and my constituents that the government is restricted from studying America’s unique and deadly relationship with gun violence. We must address America’s gun violence epidemic as we do any other disease, through hardened, unbiased scientific research — which is exactly what my bill would allow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to do.”
Murphy notes that Pride Fund was the linchpin of her campaign. When Pride Fund got involved in Murphy’s race, she was 18 points behind in the polls. She won by 2.8%, defeating 24-year Republican incumbent John Mica, who accepted a campaign contribution from the NRA just 48 hours after the shooting, while the victims’ families were planning funerals. Pride Fund launched an independent expenditure campaign featuring a targeted digital ad that highlighted Mica’s blood oath with the NRA following the Pulse tragedy. The day after we launched our ad campaign the influential Cook Political Report analysis upgraded Murphy’s race from “Leans Republican” to “Toss Up,” and they mentioned Pride Fund’s involvement in the race and the digital ad in their rationale for upgrading the race.
HR 1478 has 122 co-sponsors from Democratic members, and a verbal commitment from Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo to add his name to the growing list of members who support this commonsense measure.
“Stephanie Murphy is bringing common sense solutions to address America’s epidemic of gun violence, and is getting bipartisan support,” Lindsay said. “We knew she was the fresh leadership we needed in Congress and that she would honor the memory of the Pulse victims by fighting for change in the Capitol.”
Pride Fund to End Gun Violence is the only national LGBTQ political organization focused solely on gun violence prevention. Pride Fund was founded by Jason Lindsay, a gay Iraq War veteran, in the days following the June 2016 mass shooting at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida. When it occurred, the Pulse nightclub shooting was the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. Pride Fund supports sensible gun policy reforms while championing LGBTQ safety and equality by advocating for legislation and supporting candidates at the state and federal levels.
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