Non-profit

Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS)

Location:

WASHINGTON, DC

Tax ID:

46-4638549

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(4)

Budget (2015):

Revenue: $1,414,566
Expenses: $1,273,066
Assets: $358,363

Type:

Gun Control Organization

Formation:

2013

Founders:

Gabrielle Giffords, Mark Kelly

Also see Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC (Political Party/527)

Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS) is the gun control advocacy group of former U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-Arizona), and her husband Mark Kelly, a retired naval officer and NASA astronaut.[1]

While Americans for Responsible Solutions describes its mission as addressing gun violence in communities across the country, the organization seeks to influence public opinion on gun violence through media campaigns and research studies as well as sponsoring local, state, and national legislation that restricts gun ownership rights protected by the Second Amendment.[2]

Americans for Responsible Solutions operates as a 501(c)(4) advocacy organization. It also operates a political action committee, Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC.[3]

History

Gabrielle “Gabby” Giffords was first elected to the U.S. Congress in 2005. As a Democratic member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Giffords represented Arizona’s 8th congressional district.[4]

Giffords became prominent nationally after she was severely wounded in an assassination attempt. On January 8, 2011, Giffords held a constituent meet-and-greet at a Tucson, Arizona grocery store. The event turned deadly when 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner shot Giffords in the head, wounded several others, and killed six people including federal Judge John M. Roll, a 9-year-old girl, and an aide to Giffords.[5]

After making a substantial recovery, Giffords resigned from Congress in January 2012 to focus on her health.[6]

In 2013, Giffords and Kelly established Americans for Responsible Solutions with the goal “to encourage elected officials to stand up for solutions to prevent gun violence and protect responsible gun ownership by communicating directly with the constituents that elect them.”[7] The organization endorses a series of gun control proposals, including using federal funds for gun control research, expanding background checks, and limiting due process protections enjoyed by those whose firearms the federal government might seek to confiscate.[8]

Gun Control Legislation

In 2015, Americans for Responsible Solutions promoted the Oregon Firearms Safety Act, which mandated background checks for all firearms transfers in the state and made it illegal for those convicted of domestic violence to own a gun.[9]

The group also collaborated with Oregon Coalition for Common Sense to advance Senate Bill 710, which will create a legal process for obtaining an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO).[10] ERPO legislation was passed in California in 2014, Washington in November 2016, and similar versions were enacted in Connecticut and Indiana.

Legal experts have argued that the ERPO process fails to respect due process of law. The American Civil Liberties Union has not supported these policies as written, citing their concerns of inadequate due process procedures, the impact on civil liberties of those accused, and the concerning history of other protection orders – temporary policies such as these run the risk of becoming permanent under increased government oversight.[11]

Americans for Responsible Solutions has supported gun control legislation in other states, including Maine, Colorado, Louisiana, and Alabama.[12][13]

Political Endorsements

Though traditionally aligned with Democrats who support legislation to require expanded background checks and other gun control laws, Americans for Responsible Solutions has supported some Republicans who had backed gun control legislation.[14]

2016 General Election

In the 2016 election, this included endorsing Republican Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania against his rival Democratic candidate Katie McGinty. The group also initially backed then-Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois against Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois), but retracted the endorsement of Kirk close to Election Day 2016.[15] Toomey and Kirk, along with Senators Susan Collins of Maine and John McCain of Arizona, were the only four Republicans to vote for failed gun control legislation in 2013.[16]

During the 2016 election, the group spent over $800,000 opposing the re-election bid of Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte against New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan. Most notable was an advertisement that criticized Ayotte’s failure to support the Manchin-Toomey proposal to expand mandatory federal background checks to private-party firearm sales.[17] Americans for Responsible Solutions also endorsed Democrats in other states such as Nevada Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto and Colorado Democrat Michael Bennet.[18]

Americans for Responsible Solutions spearheaded an entire program on gun control at the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.[19] Giffords and Kelly addressed delegates on the future of gun control legislation and shared their public endorsement of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.[20]

The 2016 Democratic Party platform on gun control included aggressive measures to expand background checks, repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) that protects firearm manufacturers and dealers who legally sell firearms that are misused in crime, and limit the sale of standard capacity ammunition magazines.[21]

People

Giffords’ former chief of staff, Pia Carusone, serves as executive director for Americans for Responsible Solutions. Peter Ambler, who was Giffords’ top legislative aide, serves on the board as a strategic director. Hayley Zachary, Giffords former development director while in office, served as strategic director for ARS PAC.[22]

Other board members listed include Peggy Egan and Steven Mostyn, before Mostyn’s death in 2017.[23] Mostyn, a trial lawyer based in Houston and major Democratic donor, serves as Treasurer.[24] He and his wife, Amber, have been key donors since Americans for Responsible Solutions’ inception in 2013, donating over $1 million in the first year alone to the organization.[25]

References

  1. “About.” Americans for Responsible Solutions. Accessed May 8, 2017. http://americansforresponsiblesolutions.org/about/. ^
  2. “Americans for Responsible Solutions 990 Form.” GuideStar. Accessed May 5, 2017. https://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2015/465/592/2015-465592432-0ca3961f-9O.pdf. ^
  3. “About.” Americans for Responsible Solutions. Accessed May 5, 2017. http://americansforresponsiblesolutions.org/about/. ^
  4. “Gabrielle Giffords.” Biography.com. February 28, 2016. Accessed May 7, 2017. http://www.biography.com/people/gabrielle-giffords-20550593. ^
  5. “Gabrielle Giffords.” Biography.com. February 28, 2016. Accessed May 7, 2017. http://www.biography.com/people/gabrielle-giffords-20550593. ^
  6. “Gabrielle Giffords.” Biography.com. February 28, 2016. Accessed May 7, 2017. http://www.biography.com/people/gabrielle-giffords-20550593. ^
  7. “Americans for Responsible Solutions.” Facebook. Accessed May 8, 2017. https://www.facebook.com/pg/AmericansForResponsibleSolutions/about/. ^
  8. “Commonsense Solutions: State Laws to Expand Background Checks for Unlicensed Gun Sales.” Americans for Responsible Solutions. March 12, 2015. Accessed July 12, 2017. http://www.americansforresponsiblesolutions.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/20141203_ARS_BackgroundCheckToolKit_V4.pdf. ^
  9. “Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC.” Ballotpedia. Accessed May 7, 2017. https://ballotpedia.org/Americans_for_Responsible_Solutions_PAC#cite_note-15. ^
  10. “ARS Applauds The Oregon Senate For Advancing Bill To Help Remove Guns From Dangerous Situations.” Americans for Responsible Solutions. May 01, 2017. Accessed May 9, 2017. http://americansforresponsiblesolutions.org/2017/05/01/oregonsenate719/. ^
  11. “ACLU WA Position.” Know I-1491. November 02, 2016. Accessed June 01, 2017. https://know1491.org/aclu-wa-position/. ^
  12. “Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC.” Ballotpedia. Accessed May 7, 2017. https://ballotpedia.org/Americans_for_Responsible_Solutions_PAC#cite_note-15. ^
  13. Giffords, Gabrielle, and Mark Kelly. “America finds its voice on gun safety.” CNN. August 22, 2016. Accessed May 5, 2017. http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/22/opinions/america-finds-voice-gun-safety-giffords-kelly/. ^
  14. “Gabby Giffords’ Gun Control Group Endorses Two GOP Senators.” Time. Accessed May 8, 2017. http://time.com/4461211/gun-control-pat-toomey-mark-kirk-gabby-giffords/. ^
  15. Gorman, Michele. “Gay rights group revokes Mark Kirk endorsement in unprecedented move.” Newsweek. November 05, 2016. Accessed June 02, 2017. http://www.newsweek.com/advocacy-groups-revoke-mark-kirk-endorsements-515393. ^
  16. “Gabby Giffords’ Gun Control Group Endorses Two GOP Senators.” Time. Accessed May 8, 2017. http://time.com/4461211/gun-control-pat-toomey-mark-kirk-gabby-giffords/. ^
  17. Stuart, Tessa. “How This GOP Senator Became Gun-Control Groups’ Top Enemy.” Rolling Stone. July 07, 2016. Accessed May 9, 2017. http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/how-this-gop-senator-became-gun-control-groups-top-enemy-20160707. ^
  18. Giffords, Gabrielle, and Mark Kelly. “America finds its voice on gun safety.” CNN. August 22, 2016. Accessed May 5, 2017. http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/22/opinions/america-finds-voice-gun-safety-giffords-kelly/. ^
  19. Rucker, Philip. “Convention shows how Democrats have learned to love gun control.” The Washington Post. July 26, 2016. Accessed June 03, 2017. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/convention-shows-how-democrats-have-learned-to-love-gun-control/2016/07/26/f7401162-51cf-11e6-bbf5-957ad17b4385_story.html?utm_term=.92d822ea11a8. ^
  20. “Gabrielle Giffords’ Democratic Convention Speech.” YouTube. July 27, 2016. Accessed May 9, 2017. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m65EBd3N2KI. ^
  21. “2016 Democratic Party Platform.” July 21, 2016. Accessed June 03, 2017. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/papers_pdf/117717.pdf. ^
  22. Carney, Eliza Newlin. “K Street Files: Giffords PAC Hires Seasoned Strategists.” Roll Call. February 12, 2013. Accessed May 8, 2017. http://www.rollcall.com/news/k_street_files_giffords_pac_hires_seasoned_strategists-222346-1.html. ^
  23. “Americans for Responsible Solutions 990 Form.” GuideStar. Accessed May 5, 2017. https://www.guidestar.org/FinDocuments/2015/465/592/2015-465592432-0ca3961f-9O.pdf. ^
  24. Carney, Eliza Newlin. “K Street Files: Giffords PAC Hires Seasoned Strategists.” Roll Call. February 12, 2013. Accessed May 8, 2017. http://www.rollcall.com/news/k_street_files_giffords_pac_hires_seasoned_strategists-222346-1.html. ^
  25. Bershidsky, Leonid. “There May Be No Alternative to Merkel, After All.” Bloomberg.com. May 08, 2017. Accessed May 9, 2017. https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-05-08/there-may-be-no-alternative-to-merkel-after-all. ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Peter Ambler
    Strategic Director
  2. Hayley Zachary
    Former Strategic Director (ARS PAC)
  3. Pia Carusone
    Executive Director
  4. Mark Kelly
    Co-Founder
  5. Ezra Reese
    Consultant
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: October 1, 2014

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2015 Dec Form 990 $1,414,566 $1,273,066 $358,363 $175,738 N $1,414,566 $0 $0 $117,675 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990EZ $159,900 $118,775 $89,145 $48,020 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS)

    PO BOX 15642
    WASHINGTON, DC 20003-0642