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Gun Violence Survivors And Gun Policy Experts Available To Discuss Cloture Vote On Manchin-Toomey Background Check Bill


New Bipartisan Legislation From Toomey and Manchin Would Require Background Checks for Commercial Gun Sales;

WASHINGTON, April 11, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following individuals are available for interviews from Washington DC today, many of whom will be present at the cloture vote on the motion to proceed to debate on S. 649.  After the cloture vote, Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey and West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin will offer their bipartisan proposal to require background checks for commercial gun sales – including at gun shows and online.  A number of the available gun violence survivors and family members hail from states represented by members of Congress who are threatening to filibuster commonsense legislation to reduce gun violence.

Yesterday, Mayors Against Illegal Guns release a fact sheet on the Manchin-Toomey amendment.

Gun Violence Survivors And Family Members

Yolanda Bagley (NC) – Yolanda's son, Jelani Kamau Dandy was murdered with a gun in November 2012.

Stephen Barton (CT) – Stephen was shot with 25 shotgun pellets in the face, neck, chest, and arms during the Aurora movie theatre shooting.  He was staying overnight in Aurora during a cross-country bicycle trip with his childhood best friend, Ethan Rodriguez-Torrent.  Stephen graduated from Syracuse University in May 2012 and has postponed a Fulbright Fellowship to focus on his physical recovery and work on gun violence prevention.  He currently works as an Outreach and Policy Associate for Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

Carol Gardner (FL) – Carol's son Herman Gross was shot and killed on July 13, 2011. 

Lori Haas (VA) – Lori's daughter Emily was shot and injured in the mass shooting at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007, in which 32 of her classmates and professors were murdered. The shooter had been adjudicated mentally ill and was prohibited from buying firearms. But his mental health records had not been submitted to the background check database, so he was able to pass a check and buy the murder weapons from a licensed gun dealer.  Lori currently works as a gun violence prevention advocate.

Nardyne Jefferies (DC) – Nardyne's only child, Brishell Jones, was eating pizza with a group of friends after attending the funeral of gun violence victim when men driving by in a passing car opened fire with an AK-47. She and two others were killed and nine were injured. Brishell was 16.

Erica Lafferty ( Newtown, CT) - Erica's mother, Dawn Hochsprung, was murdered during the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting after courageously confronting the shooter.  Dawn was the principal of Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Stephen and Joellen Miller (IN) – Stephen and Joellen live in the South Bend area. Stephens's brother and nephew were murdered with guns as young adults. They are committed to fostering a dialogue between urban, suburban and rural areas in order to curb gun violence in all parts of the country.

Sandy and Lonnie Phillips (TX) - Sandy's daughter and Lonnie's step-daughter Jessica Ghawi was murdered in the Aurora theatre shooting.  Sandy and Lonnie are gun owners.

Jillian Soto ( Newtown, CT) – Jillian and Carlee's sister Victoria was a teacher at Sandy Hook Elementary School who was murdered with a gun in the Newtown shooting.  Victoria died protecting her students and was a posthumous recipient of the Presidential Citizens Medal.  Jillian and Carlee are college students.

Effie McDonald Steele (NC) – Effie's daughter, Ebony Robinson, was shot and killed when she was several months pregnant.

Gun Violence Experts

John Feinblatt was appointed Chief Policy Advisor to New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg in February 2010. In addition to developing and implementing policies that cut across city agencies, Mr. Feinblatt leads the Mayor's national coalitions on guns, immigration reform, and infrastructure investment. Since 2002, he has held the position of Criminal Justice Coordinator for the City of New York. He serves as the Mayor's chief advisor on criminal justice policy and liaison to the state court system, the city's five elected District Attorneys and the state criminal justice system. Prior to joining the Bloomberg administration, Mr. Feinblatt was the founding director of the Center for Court Innovation, the country's leading think tank devoted to problem solving justice.

Mark Glaze is Director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a bipartisan coalition of more than 900 U.S. mayors working to keep illegal guns out of dangerous hands co-chaired by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino.  Mr. Glaze is the son of a former federally licensed gun dealer in Colorado, but as he says often in interviews, we are no longer dealing with his father's NRA. He is also a principal at The Raben Group, a public policy consulting firm with offices in Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C. 

David Chipman is a consultant to Mayors Against Illegal Guns and previously served for 25 years as a special agent in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). During Mr. Chipman's tenure with ATF, he worked to combat illegal gun trafficking and violent crime across the country. He also became a certified explosives specialist and a member of ATF's National Response Team, assisting in on-scene investigations following bombings at the World Trade Center in 1993 and the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995.

About Mayors Against Illegal Guns

Since its creation in April 2006, Mayors Against Illegal Guns has grown from 15 members to more than 900 mayors from across the country. We have more than 1.5 million grassroots supporters, making us the largest gun violence prevention advocacy organization in the country.  The bipartisan coalition, co-chaired by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, has united the nation's mayors around these common goals: protecting communities by holding gun offenders accountable; demanding access to crime gun trace data that is critical to law enforcement efforts to combat gun trafficking; and working with legislators to fix weaknesses and loopholes in the law that make it far too easy for criminals and other dangerous people to get guns.  Learn more at

CONTACTS Erika Soto Lamb: or 646-580-5281 Alex Katz: or 617-721-3779

SOURCE Mayors Against Illegal Guns

Copyright 2011 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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