Washington, DC— With members of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) gathering in Salt Lake City for a closed door meeting just days after the shooting massacre in Aurora, Colorado, American families deserve to know why the organization continues to formally support the ownership and sale of assault weapons.
On Friday morning, James Holmes walked into a movie theater in Aurora with a Smith & Wesson M&P 15 assault rifle equipped with a 100-round drum magazine, killing 12 innocent Americans and injuring 59. This weapon and its high capacity ammunition magazine would have been outlawed under the federal Assault Weapons Ban that was enacted in 1994, but the U.S. Congress let the ban expire in 2004 at the urging of a long-time ALEC member and sponsor, the National Rifle Association (NRA). In 1995, ALEC itself authored model legislation opposing a ban on assault weapons, which it has promoted in states across the country ever since.
Among the corporations sponsoring ALEC’s annual meeting in Salt Lake City are Reynolds American, Presidential Level Sponsor; Altria, Chairman Level Sponsor; Chevron, Chairman Level Sponsor, and American Electric Power, Vice Chairman Level Sponsor.
When American families make decisions about how to spend their hard-earned money, they deserve to know whether the recipient of their business is supporting policies that endanger their loved ones. Lori Haas, the mother of a Virginia Tech shooting survivor who is in Salt Lake City this week, said, "These corporations should be ashamed of themselves. Assault weapons are deadly instruments of war designed with one purpose—to kill and wound large numbers of people on a battlefield. They have no place in civilian hands. ALEC, with its support of 'Stand Your Ground' laws and advocacy for assault weapons, has a long record of opposition to measures combating gun violence. As our nation mourns the victims of yet another mass shooting involving assault weapons, it's time for its corporate sponsors to stand up for what's right and dump ALEC."
The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence seeks to secure freedom from gun violence through research, strategic engagement and effective policy advocacy.