Harnessing The Power Of Art To Prevent Gun Violence: Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords Joins Forces With The Artist Bonnie Lautenberg
April 6, 2023
New Artwork “Guns Kill” by Bonnie Lautenberg Launches National Initiative at: www.giffords.org/miamiexhibit Honoring 10th Anniversary of the Giffords Foundation to Protect Americans from Gun Violence. “Americans are demanding a safer future and if we come together we can create a future free from gun violence,” says Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, Founder of The Gun Violence Prevention Organization, Giffords. She released the following statement after at least three children and three adults were killed in a mass shooting at the Covenant School in Nashville, Tennessee.
“I am devastated and angry. At least three innocent children and three adults lost their lives to another incident of senseless gun violence. Countless people, including young kids, will be left traumatized by this tragedy. No parent, student or teacher should live in fear of a mass murder at school. Enough is enough. Our leaders need to act. We stand with the Nashville community and remain committed to fighting gun violence. We owe it to our children and future generations.”
“This vital message is reaching people across the country, thanks to Bonnie Lautenberg’s powerful artwork Guns Kill.” The non-profit organization is celebrating its 10th Anniversary and is joining forces with the Artist Bonnie Lautenberg. Lautenberg created a new artwork specifically for Gabby Giffords to help raise funds for Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence. Contributors of $2,500 or more will receive a first edition, fine art print of this artwork, signed by Bonnie Lautenberg. To donate, visit: www.giffords.org/miamiexhibit
Gabby Giffords recently visited Lautenberg’s museum exhibition, at a time when legislation is currently being proposed in Florida that would allow people without any permits or training to carry concealed firearms. Watch a new video at: https://vimeo.com/810900823
People who have never passed a background check or fired a gun in their lives will be allowed to carry a concealed gun in public. Similar laws in other states have led to dangerous increases in gun homicides.
Currently, people who want to obtain a concealed carry permit in Florida must pass a background check, complete firearm safety training and meet heightened eligibility standards. These provisions help ensure people with a history of violent behavior cannot carry firearms in public places.
Between July of 2021 and June of 2022, more than 7,600 Florida residents with a disqualifying history were prevented from acquiring concealed carry permits for these same reasons. This new permitless carry legislation would strip these important provisions.
“I created this artwork especially for Gabby Giffords,” says Bonnie Lautenberg. “I added tears streaming down the face of the Statue of Liberty, the two simple words ‘Guns Kill’ on her crown and locations of mass shootings written across Lady Liberty’s arm."
"It saddens me deeply that the list of so many places keeps growing where Americans continue to lose loved ones to gun violence,” adds Lautenberg.
The artwork is currently on view at the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU in Miami Beach, where the exhibition Lady Liberty: A Bonnie Lautenberg Retrospective has received rave reviews with national acclaim by Artnet News as one of the “Must-See Museum Shows During Art Basel Miami Beach” and as “One of the Hottest Exhibitions During Art Basel Miami Beach” by Elite Traveler Magazine.
Bonnie Lautenberg divides her time between New York and Florida, where she has a second home in Palm Beach. The artist was selected by the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU to headline its new season due to her rising national acclaim and because Florida is her home during part of the year (the museum’s mission is to exhibit the work of Florida artists).
Located in South Beach’s historic Art Deco District, this museum was originally the first Synagogue in South Beach – making this a full-circle moment for Giffords because she recently took the spiritual milestone of completing her Bat Mitzvah as an adult. Giffords’ father was Jewish and she has been exploring and studying her Jewish faith for more than 20 years.
Working with Lautenberg to present this initiative here is especially moving for Giffords, because this is the State of Florida’s official museum dedicated to telling the story of more than 250 years of Florida’s Jewish history, arts and culture.
Being surrounded by her friend’s museum exhibition, with her photographs and artworks of powerful women, makes it even more special to Giffords.
“Giffords’ recent Bat Mitzvah in 2021 was as joyous and tearful as you’d expect,” states this moving piece in The Forward, which goes on to say: In 2011, Giffords was shot in the head in an attack that left six people dead and 13 injured at a Saturday morning constituent meet-and-greet outside a grocery store in Tucson.
Giffords resigned from her public office at the U.S. House Of Representatives, but her work as an advocate to protect Americans from gun violence continues. The article by Amy Silverman also states: For Giffords, her Jewish studies have been an important source of strength, culminating in her recent Bat Mitzvah ceremony.
Learning to chant a Torah portion in Hebrew, studying the meaning of the text and offering an interpretation to the congregation, not to mention memorizing all the prayers that accompany the ceremony, can be a lot for anyone, whether you’re 13 or 51.
But Giffords’ Bat Mitzvah also came with additional challenges and concluded a long, hard journey. It was an emotional moment two decades in the making.
“The story of the Jewish people is one of endurance, of bravery, of the will to keep going and learning those stories has been a source of comfort and inspiration to me. I’ve had to keep going, to believe I could keep moving, in my own life. So many people who’ve been injured, or suffered a loss, struggle to keep moving.”
Contributors at: www.giffords.org/miamiexhibit will receive a First Edition, Fine Art Print of the artwork Guns Kill, signed by Lautenberg (100% of the proceeds will benefit the Giffords’ organization’s mission to protect Americans from gun violence).