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Gun Activists Demand Cancellation of Hollywood Fundraiser

LOS ANGELES, March 20, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following organizations devoted to reducing gun violence wrote to Alan and Cindy Horn today urging them to cancel a fundraiser they are holding for two Senators tonight.

Alan Horn is the Chairman of Walt Disney Studios and his wife Cindy is a progressive donor and activist.

As the groups noted, Senators Pryor and Begich, who both face reelection this year, were two of the four Democratic Senators who voted to defeat a historic opportunity to reform the background check system last April.

The groups suggest the Horns could instead raise funds for other Red State Democrats who voted to support the bill.

Donors have been invited to spend up to $10,400 per plate for the fundraiser. Co-sponsors of the event include Chris Dodd, the former Connecticut Senator who now chairs the Motion Picture Association of America, Ron Meyer, the president of Universal Studios, Jeff Shell, the chairman of Universal Filmed Entertainment, and Andy Spahn, the former DreamWorks executive whose consulting firm specializes in pairing candidates and elected officials with high-dollar Hollywood donors.

Following the Newtown, Connecticut shooting, high-profile artists and entertainers released a PSA calling for an end to gun violence. The Hollywood executives hosting this event are not listening.

The organizations include: Women Against Gun Violence, California Brady Campaign, Violence Prevention Coalition of Los Angeles, and Moms Demand Action.

The text of the letter follows:

Dear Ms. Horn:

We write to express our profound surprise and disappointment to learn that you intend to help Senators Mark Begich (AK) and Mark Pryor (AR) raise money from Californians tonight. 

Before you do, we ask you and potential donors to ask yourselves a difficult question:  is "Democrat" merely a box on a ballot, to be checked at any cost?  Or should it reflect a shared commitment to policies you believe will achieve a more prosperous, peaceful, and safer America for our children? 

When you have considered that question, we hope you will cancel this event.

Alternatively, we suggest you raise reelection funds for other Senate incumbents who face tough challenges, but who gladly joined the Senate majority supporting life-saving background checks after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.  If you were to put your wonderful skills to work for Sens. Mary Landrieu (LA), Kay Hagan (NC), Jeanne Shaheen (NH) or Mark Udall, many of us might just drop by with a check of our own.

Senators Begich and Pryor were among only four Democrats who helped block landmark legislation to finally require background checks for all commercial gun sales – a law that would save many lives while imposing no burden on any law-abiding gun owner. 

In doing so, they opposed a majority of the Senate, the major law enforcement organizations, a thousand U.S. mayors, all the major domestic violence advocacy groups, thousands of faith leaders, 92 percent of Americans, 81 percent of gun owners, and 74 percent of NRA members.  Senator Pryor ignored the advice of 84 percent of Arkansans.

They did so to avoid alienating the Washington office of the NRA – which controls a small but vocal group of voters in their states, can supply modest campaign contributions and expenditures – all in the service of selling more guns and raising more money at the cost of many American lives every year.

Why should Californians care?  States with weak gun laws sell guns to dangerous people who carry them into states like California, where tough laws make firearms difficult and expensive for criminals to acquire.  That's why we need a uniform federal law – and why the American gun violence epidemic is every Senator's problem.

So when Senators from far-flung places come to California to fuel their campaigns, we hope you will remind them you're not their personal ATM.  You have a right to ask why they deserve your support. 

In particular, you have every right to ask why they helped a Republican minority defeat a Democratic majority and a Democratic President and Vice President who worked their heart out on this chance for reform – which may not come again for years.

In the meantime, we hope Senators Begich and Pryor will consider the story of Patricia Maisch, and summon the courage to reconsider their vote.

When a deeply disturbed young man opened fire on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and a crowd of her constituents, shattering the morning, Pat ran right into the fire. She tackled and helped disarm the gunman before he could reload and kill still more.

When Senators Pryor and Begich and their colleagues voted to kill the reform package last April, Pat called them "an embarrassment to this country . . . who don't have any compassion or care for people who have been taken brutally from their families."

Facing down a mass murderer requires courage.  Facing down a special interest group should be a job requirement for a United States Senator.

All the undersigned groups deeply respect and salute your commitment to Democratic values and your passion for politics. We greatly admire your record of achievement working to improve the environment, public health and education against entrenched corporate interests. Your support for progressive candidates has helped ensure that the public interest is not simply trumped by the player with the bigger checkbook. 

The survivors of gun violence, and the families of those we lost, are counting on you now. 

Sincerely,

Margot Bennett, Executive Director, Women Against Gun Violence

Dallas M. Stout, Psy.D., President, California Brady Campaign Chapters

Suzanne Verge, Los Angeles County Brady Campaign Chapter President

David Draper, Pomona Valley Brady Campaign Chapter President

Loren Lieb, San Fernando Valley Brady Campaign Chapter

Tim Heyne, Ventura County Brady Campaign Chapter President

Kaile Shilling, Violence Prevention Coalition of Los Angeles

Catherine Stefani, California Chapter Leader, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America

Daniella Manross, West Los Angeles Ambassador, California Chapter, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America

SOURCE Women Against Gun Violence; Violence Prevention Coalition of Los Angeles; Moms Demand Action; California Brady Campaign

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