Global Action on Gun Violence (GAGV) is the only non-profit organization working with the international community to reduce gun violence through litigation, advocacy, and messaging. GAGV is led by professionals with more than 70 years of experience in gun violence prevention. GAGV’s founder and president is Jonathan Lowy, who for 25 years engineered strategic litigation against the gun industry for the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. GAGV’s Advisory Committee includes experts, advocates and diplomats from the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean, Europe, Australia, and Africa.
GAGV seeks to end the gun violence epidemic in the United States and prevent it from becoming a global pandemic. We focus on reforming dangerous gun industry practices that cause gun violence and trafficking, and on stopping the spread of guns and extremist gun culture from the U.S.
GAGV focuses on effective strategies that overcome the obstacles that historically have prevented effective gun violence solutions in the United States. While the U.S. Congress fails to regulate the gun industry, GAGV brings strategic litigation against the gun industry to reform dangerous practices directly.
While gun lobby influence constrains U.S. gun policy, GAGV works with the international community, which is unconstrained by extreme gun politics and can act more boldly. While U.S. law shields the gun industry from liability, GAGV brings foreign legal actions that are not bound by those limitations. While misguided readings of the Second Amendment constrain U.S. solutions, GAGV brings human rights actions, which provide a legal basis to compel U.S. action on guns.
The “inside game” — domestic U.S. efforts — has resulted in record levels of gun deaths, multiple mass shootings each day, and guns flooding from the United States to Mexico, the Caribbean, Latin America, and Canada. We believe that the “outside game” – pressure from outside the U.S. applied directly on the gun industry and on the U.S. government — will be more effective.
GAGV is the only U.S.-based organization focused on the “outside game” approach to gun violence prevention. GAGV is the only nongovernmental organization in the world that engages in gun violence prevention litigation for the international community and that provides gun violence prevention services for countries. GAGV’s lawyers have the most experience and success litigating against the gun industry. GAGV is litigating the first and only strategic gun violence lawsuits on behalf of a national government and the only lawsuits seeking to hold the gun manufacturing industry accountable for supplying the crime gun market.
Strategic litigation incentivizes safer gun industry practices by forcing irresponsible gun companies to pay for harm caused by unsafe practices, and it can force reforms through settlement. Information uncovered during the legal process can expose industry wrongdoing and inspire stronger laws. Studies have shown that litigation significantly reduces the flow of crime guns.
Guns used in crimes and trafficking are mostly supplied by irresponsible gun dealers using well-known dangerous sales practices, such as straw purchasing and bulk sales. The crime gun pipeline could be stopped if gun manufacturers and dealers simply sold guns in a safer, responsible way.
As far back as 2000, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) found that about 5% of dealers sell about 90% of crime guns. The industry designs guns for lethality, sells military-style assault weapons only useful for mass shootings, and uses false and dangerous advertising. The U.S. Department of Justice has told the gun industry to implement safe business practices, but it has refused. Litigation can change those business practices and potentially shut down out-of-control dealers—permanently.
Countries outside of the U.S. suffer much of the harm from the U.S. gun industry, and they can be an important part of the solution to gun violence, in the U.S. and abroad. More than 60% of gun deaths in the world occur in Brazil, the United States, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela and Guatemala. And gun violence is rising in the Caribbean and Canada.
Countries outside the United States can take action to stop the flow of guns from the U.S. that harm their people. Moreover, foreign-led reforms to dangerous gun industry practices and weak U.S. laws will also benefit people in the U.S., who are victimized by the same problems. Countries outside of the U.S. have potential to reduce gun violence both in the U.S. and abroad more than domestic U.S. efforts. Strategic litigation for harm suffered outside the U.S. can hold the gun industry accountable by avoiding the special protections that shield liability in many domestic lawsuits.
Advocacy and messaging by other nations can be bolder than the U.S. gun violence prevention agenda, as they are not constrained by the U.S.’s gun-friendly politics. Other countries and international organizations can raise gun industry standards by strongly regulating gun companies based outside of the United States and exert pressure on the U.S. to enforce and enact strong gun policies by imposing costs in bilateral and international dealings.
No. But we believe the gun violence problem is too urgent to rely on the U.S. political process to solve it anytime soon. New pressures from the international community are needed as part of a comprehensive strategy that includes existing domestic gun safety advocates. We are taking our cause to a new level by involving more advocates and resources so that innocent lives in the U.S. and other countries can be saved. Most gun violence is preventable, if gun manufacturers and dealers simply choose to make and sell guns in a responsible way or are required to.
No. The Second Amendment does not entitle gun companies to make and sell guns in unsafe, dangerous ways. And Mexican drug cartels and other criminals do not have Second Amendment rights to obtain guns through dangerous gun industry practices. Gun manufacturers and their supply chains have the means today to reduce gun and crime gun violence without diluting constitutional protections. Yet they continue to put profits ahead of public safety, misrepresenting the intent of the authors of the Constitution.
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GAGV is funded by individuals, family and institutional foundations, law firms, and other businesses. GAGV also receives support for work from governments outside the United States. Other sources of income include grants and contracts.
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