Giffords on senators: 'Shame on them'
April 17th, 2013
10:03 PM ET
5 years ago

Giffords on senators: 'Shame on them'

(CNN) - Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords lambasted the 46 senators who voted against an ill-fated bipartisan proposal to expand background checks on firearms sales and vowed to continue her fight for tougher gun laws.

"Speaking is physically difficult for me," Giffords wrote in a New York Times opinion piece published online after the Senate rejected the compromise on Wednesday. "But my feelings are clear: I'm furious. I will not rest until we have righted the wrong these senators have done."

Giffords, a Democrat, was seriously hurt in a 2011 shooting that killed six and wounded 13. She and her husband, Mark Kelly, have been vocal advocates for stricter gun laws since the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, in December.

Together, the two gun owners formed a nonprofit group, Americans for Responsible Solutions, which lobbied Congress and tried to beat back efforts from the powerful National Rifle Association.

Opponents argued the compromise struck by West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin and Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey to expand background checks to gun shows and Internet sales infringed on Second Amendment rights and wouldn’t go far enough to prevent gun violence.

It was offered as an amendment to an underlying package of proposals and needed 60 votes to pass. It received 54.

Giffords stood alongside President Barack Obama at the White House after the Senate vote. Obama sharply criticized lawmakers for failing to pass the amendment, as Giffords nodded her head.

"Some of the senators who voted against the background-check amendments have met with grieving parents whose children were murdered at Sandy Hook, in Newtown," she wrote in the op-ed.

"Some of the senators who voted ‘no’ have also looked into my eyes as I talked about my experience being shot in the head at point-blank range in suburban Tucson two years ago, and expressed sympathy for the 18 other people shot besides me, six of whom died.

“These senators have heard from their constituents – who polls show overwhelmingly favored expanding background checks. And still these senators decided to do nothing. Shame on them," Giffords said.

- CNN's Ashley Killough contributed to this report.

Filed under: Gabrielle Giffords • Gun control • Gun rights • Senate
soundoff (334 Responses)
  1. tg3043

    always interesting reading all the anti gun comments speaking for the "majority" of the population and saying that the NRA is the all powerful lobby that browbeats the politicians into doing what they want. lets list a couple of facts though. Yes, the NRA is a powerful lobby that represents about 4.5 million firearm owners and some of their members are indeed owners of firearm companies and gun stores (it would make since to join an organization that would help defend your livelyhood). However there are at least 20+ other gun rights organizations out there representing other firearms owners (a quick google search will bring them up for you). In 2007, there are an estimated 270+ million firearms privately owned in the United States (but that figure is actually probably over 300+ million today) and the US has a population of close to 313 million people. So it makes you wonder exactly who does the "majority" comments actually represent. Also, what the anti gun suporters fail to realize is that the word was sent out by the pro gun groups to have their members contact their elected officals and express their veiws on the proposed legistation. Last night i read a comment on CNN from an anti gun supporter saying that the silent majority has woken up and will voice their opinion – my response to him was that they already have and that's why the legislation didn't pass.

    April 18, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  2. Jocelyn

    It's unfortunate what happened to Gifford, Sandy Hook, and others affected by gun violence. But the US must not rule using the victims' tears and emotions. Back ground checks does not prevent gun violence.

    April 18, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  3. ondaone

    Is it passible for us to understand that the faction controlling NRA policy is paranoid, and even subversive, and might wish to undermine our government...and our way of life?

    April 18, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  4. Scooter

    God bless America. Why do we care that someone who was shot in the brain with a handgun, wants to ban a totally different type of firearm? Maybe the do gooders who want to save us all can put their energies into banning true killing devices like pressure cookers. Hurry make up your signs, hold rallies, and whore out the victims of this tragedy. Maybe we should have a registry for pressure cooker owners as well as limit their size and require permits for them. What do you think?

    April 18, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  5. Omahajamie

    I hope that these Senators that voted against this ALL get voted out of office next go-around. They're $%^ing morons – EVERY ONE OF THEM. Why would you not want background checks on people purchasing guns? If you don't want a background check then you're obviously hiding something....which is why you shouldn't have a gun.

    April 18, 2013 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  6. Mel

    Firearm owners in general could probably support some sort of expanded background checks. The problem is that we do not trust the intentions of the Obama Administration, Bloomberg, etc.. The gun-control lobby has made it quite clear that their overall goal is to eliminate the ownership of firearms by American citizens. They view the Second Amendment as a temporary roadblock to their efforts.
    I am interested in planned legislation to limit firearm trafficking and straw buyers. Gun owners are tired of being painted with the same brush as the anti-social deviants who commit crimes with guns. I am in favor of relentless prosecution of individuals who violate existing gun laws.

    April 18, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  7. brett

    So if someone gets hit by a drunk driver, they should campaign against everyone using cars? Then say shame on you for not wanting to give up their rights to buy and sell cars freely? And for those of you who say...well I thought in a democracy that majority rules! Well then what about those anti god freaks who demand that a nativity scene be taken down during the holidays because somehow that's just a horrible site to see? They definately aren't the majority yet we have to take the scene down.

    April 18, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  8. pauleky

    Oh, it's not that they're doing nothing – it's that they're doing something for the NRA and the gun industry.

    April 18, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  9. Mike

    Shame on them, indeed. Especially the GOP leaders who invoked the filibuster to prevent passage by a simple majority of our elected representatives.

    April 18, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  10. bs1

    Shame on you Mrs. Giffords and the rest of the rabid anti-gun minority that pulled out every lie in the book in their attempt to ram through their political agenda against public opinion. Shame on you for the lies claiming that most gun sales don't get background checks. Shame on you for the phony poll claiming that somehow a poll of barely 1,000 carefully selected persons is representative of the views of the 330,000,000 US population. Even left leaning sources like NPR were reporting less than 43% support for the proposed "gun controls" immediately prior to you hastily fabricated phony poll. Shame on you for claiming that the "universal background checks" would somehow prevent back alley gun sales that are already federal felonies. Shame on you for blatently lying to the public.

    April 18, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  11. ezduzit757

    An "A" rating from the NRA is like an "A" rating from Al Quida. Soon Senators will be trying to hide this rating in their past because it will be a lliability, but we, the MAJORITY of American voters won't forget.

    April 18, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  12. GonzoinHouston

    This vote will come back to haunt the GOP.

    April 18, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  13. Cunfuzed


    Spot on! I'm not a member of the NRA or any other gun group, but I wrote my senators and asked them to vote against the bill. It was poorly written, and only further restricted law abiding citizens while doing nothing to prevent tragedies like Sandy Hook or Gabrielle Giffords.

    We already have background checks at gun shows in my state. Murder is illegal. Carrying a firearm onto school property is illegal, and it was/is in Newtown as well. Did the laws help?

    April 18, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  14. Ann

    A background check does not infringe on your right to legally purchase a gun any more than asking for proof of age infringes on your right to purchase alcohol.

    A national registry of gun owners does not infringe upon your right to legally own a gun any more than the DMV infringes on your right to own a car.

    No one is coming to take your guns if you own them legally. So, what is the problem?

    April 18, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  15. Dallas

    Disgraceful. 46 cowards in the US Senate so afraid to buck the lying NRA. How can you ignore the will of the American people? This bill was a no-brainer. All of you know that the NRA has lied about what the bill contained and yet you are all so afraid of losing your seat, being challenged in a primary that you are unwilling to do the right thing. Shame on all of you. The Republican party is well on its way to extinction and you all will pay the price with our votes.

    April 18, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  16. Jim B

    You're a true patriot Gabby, unlike the 45 cowards in the Senate and most in the House of Representatives who don't want to reduce needless gun violence because they are bought by blood stained money from the NRA! The vast majority of Americans are with you on this because like you they are willing to sacrifice for the love of their country so that all children, women and men can be safer. The lack of action by so many of our representatives in Washington to implement common sense gun safety is unconscionable. They are an embarrassment to the office they hold! We will not forget when we vote!!!. They and the NRA may have won yesterday's battle but Americans will eventually win the war on gun safety!

    April 18, 2013 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  17. DaveinIL

    Lies, damn lies, and statistics!
    The usual use of statistical "facts" to justify a political position and marginalize the opposing viewpoint.
    Ask "Do you feel that steak is a good choice on a restaurant's menu?" and 90% will agree. Change the question to "Given a menu choice of steak, chicken, fish and pork, which would you prefer?" and the 90% supporting steak disappears.

    April 18, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  18. gatecrasher1

    Sarah Palin of the Democrats.

    April 18, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  19. Mammy

    What does she know – she has a hole in her head, for gawd's sake.

    April 18, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  20. Les

    Giffords is wrong. The shame here is that she, her husband, the President, and many others are dancing in the blood of crime victims in an attempt to restrict the rights of people who are not the cause of the problem. It's nothing but a political agenda to them.

    April 18, 2013 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  21. tim

    The whole idea of background checks and bans on weapons is foolhardy. It is a proven failure. Rather than punishing and registering every law abiding citizen, lets identify, treat, and deal with the real issues. If you really want to control violence you need to treat mental illness, stop promoting violence and murder in movies, tv, etc. AND instead of gun restrictions and background checks, you need to set up a registry for those who commit violent crime or have a mental illness that puts them at risk for anti-social behavior. Let's solve the problem, NOT simply give up our rights.

    April 18, 2013 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  22. Nate

    For those complaining about special interest groups, Giffords and her husband formed their own LOBBYING group. She is now a dreaded special interest as well. However, she got the national podium. Hmmm. Maybe the headline should be "Obama Backs Special Interest Group". The labels we use these days are hilarious because everyone thinks they only apply to the people they disagree with.

    April 18, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  23. Chilly Willy

    I'm happy it failed just to spite Obama, Giffords, and the rest of the "holier-than-thou" anti gun people.

    April 18, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  24. FogRider

    Guns are becoming a "weapon of mass destruction". No, I don't want to limit the 2nd Amendment and I don't want to take away a persons gun(s). But this proliferation has resulted in an increasing number of people "packing" a gun or having easy access for purchasing one with absolutely no background check. Now we have road-ragers shooting rather than yelling. We have angry people going to the gun store, buying a gun, and killing their spouse. In my opinion the ultra-right media is creating an environment of paranoia and fear and making it almost impossible to have a reasonable discussion about reasonable solutions. What kind of wild-west environment do we want?

    April 18, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  25. Zenger Folkman

    @ Jocelyn: "Back ground checks does not prevent gun violence" So shall we get rid of the background checks we have now? Maybe we should get rid of the US Border Patrol, too, since that does not prevent illegal immigration. What do you think?

    April 18, 2013 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
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