Guns Down America Applauds Bill to Tackle Armed Voter Intimidation and Protect the Right to Vote

July 29, 2021

Guns Down America has fought for gun-free polling places in 2016, 2018 and 2020 elections

Washington, D.C. -- Guns Down America, a bolder, broader movement calling for dramatically fewer guns in America, commended Congressman Raul Ruiz and Ruben Gallego on introducing H.R. 4722, the Vote Without Fear Act, to prevent armed intimidation at the voting booth.

“As our intelligence agencies warn of the increasing threat of armed extremists, we must take steps to ensure that all Americans can exercise the franchise free of intimidation,” said Guns Down America Executive Director Igor Volsky. “Firearms simply have no place at the polling booth in a healthy and functioning democracy.”

Last year, Guns Down America partnered with GSGV on a groundbreaking report that found numerous examples of gun-based intimidation in polling places in swing states. Armed Right-wing supporters questioned voters at polling places and protested outside of a Democratic campaign office with firearms in Virginia during the 2016 election. In 2018, a Pennsylvania man was arrested for threatening to “shoot up” a polling place. In North Carolina, a Black campaign volunteer was accosted by an armed man at an early voting location for the 2018 election.

Heading into the 2020 election, the report found that Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin all lacked laws that expressly prevent the possession of firearms at polling places, but did have some tools that can help prevent intimidation if state and local officials take coordinated action. In fact, heading into the 2020 election, the report found that only six states -- Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas -- had clear laws that generally prohibit guns in polling places.

Previously, in the week before the 2016 election, Guns Down America launched a campaign to give voters a way to report instances of armed intimidation at polling places. In less than 12 hours, 85 voters in 28 states reported seeing firearms at the polls. These incidents were reported by Voter Protection Hotline personnel to local law enforcement and election authorities.

For more on the vote Without Fear Act, click here or here.