Welcome to Global Action on Gun Violence.
Our organizing principle is simple but bold: The world can save the U.S. from gun violence, and together we can save the world.
Let me explain what we mean.
I spent 25 years leading gun violence prevention work in the United States, mostly bringing impact lawsuits for the Brady Center to stop the gun industry from supplying crime guns, and advocating for stronger laws to prevent gun violence. It was fulfilling, but frustrating work: we established a body of legal precedent to hold gun companies accountable for their enabling of — and profiting from — gun violence. But political favors to the gun industry made it two steps forward, one step backwards at best. And the current extremist Supreme Court could quickly lurch us much further backwards.
Several years ago, I began working with the government of Mexico to stop the flood of guns that pour across the U.S. border and arm the cartels, work that led to the first lawsuit filed by a country against the gun industry. Soon I joined a class action lawsuit in Canada brought by victims of a mass shooting in Toronto with a U.S. made gun. The two experiences highlighted three facts that led to the creation of GAGV:
- The reckless, profit-driven practices of the U.S. gun industry, enabled by weak U.S. laws, are causing havoc in countries beyond U.S. borders – in Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean, Latin America and beyond.
- While the U.S.’s failure to protect its own residents from gun violence is indefensible, causing deaths and injuries to one’s neighbors is another order of wrong. Just as one cannot dump toxins in a neighbor’s yard, international law and comity do not allow causing extraterritorial harm.
- Bold action by other countries is warranted and needed to stop U.S. guns from harming their nations and people, and may also be the most effective solution to the U.S.’s gun violence epidemic. Lawsuits brought for harm suffered abroad are not constrained by the special gun industry protections found in the U.S.; international and human rights laws protect the right to live far more than current U.S. law; and other countries act with a boldness and clarity to protect the right to live rarely seen domestically. And if foreign actors are successful in stopping dangerous practices that arm criminals abroad, those same reforms will make the United States far more safe.
Hence: the world can save the U.S., and together we can save the world.
A comprehensive global approach to gun violence that includes impact litigation, policy advocacy, and messaging hasn’t really been tried. We believe it’s the answer.
President & Founder