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. CraigRB

    I keep asking, if background checks don't stop the violence then, why didn't the senators tied with the gun lobby come up with a bill that does or just pass the Manchin-Toomey bill to quiet everyone down and then move on.

    April 18, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  2. stetson

    Can the list of the senators who voted against this bill be released so we can vote accordingly in the next election?

    April 18, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  3. Steffan

    The Senate failure to pass a gun control bill is shameful. They let the NRA rule the day again. It's time the NRA is put out of business.

    April 18, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  4. wildling

    go away! and stop airing the video of Mr. Giffords shooting pots in the desert in front of Gabby... 1,000 times in 1 week is enough!!!!!! ahhhhhhhh!

    April 18, 2013 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  5. Howard

    The only laws that i saw would have made ant difference were also voted down,might I add by a democrat controlled senate. It would have made funds available to prosecute felons who try to buy guns. But the democrats would not want that because it would actually address the problem.

    April 18, 2013 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  6. Woot

    Woot, now lets pull all the extras out of this bill and make a Universal backround check bill only a universal backround check bill.

    April 18, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  7. Patrick

    60 votes in the Senate are required to got to vote on a bill. So they are voting on a bill twice. Once to bring it to the floor for a vote. Then again on the bill. The second vote is where a majority vote (51 votes) the bill passes. The bring to the floor for a vote requires 60 votes. Getting 59 votes still is no good. This was the vote to bring this bill to the Senate floor. That vote requires 60 to pass. Notice the procedural vote of Harry Reid. Harry Reid voted no. He did that so this bill can be brought to the floor again.

    April 18, 2013 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  8. sunflower2

    Shame on you AND the congress... The focus needs to be on adequate facilities, housing, medication and care for the mentally ill... we have failed miserably as a nation on this topic and this needs to be done first and foremost. Criminals will always get guns illegally, no matter what we do, but we CAN do something about treating the mentally ill more efficiently, effectively and consistently. Closing long term care facilities years ago rather than update and "fix" them, is why we are paying such a bitter price now.....

    April 18, 2013 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  9. sounds

    shame on you giffords!

    April 18, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  10. ColdWarVet75

    Howard I agree with your point but very few felons are prosecuted in Federal courts. In financial crimes in New York and LA there has to be a loss of $500K before the Fed's take it. Most states either have or could have mandatory laws for sentencing in crimes where firearms are used.

    April 18, 2013 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  11. Deserttrek

    sit down ms giffords. the bill would not have prevented your shooting or newtown. the bills supporters admit it does nothing except feel good. the us government has committed gun running crimes yet they remain free in the doj. the elitists want control.

    April 18, 2013 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  12. Tiz

    A Democratic majority in the Senate..... and this is what happens.... politics as usual for the Dems up for re-election...

    April 18, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  13. Abbey

    Shame on all of you for using children and tragedy to push an anti-gun agenda when safety and arresting criminals was always the main issue. Please look me in the eye and tell me that you want to disarm law-abiding citizens Madam Giffords.

    April 18, 2013 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  14. Jason

    Giffords is a nobody! Nobody gives two craps what she thinks. Her husband has even less influence.

    April 18, 2013 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  15. lady1234

    You can take the guns away from haters but that doesn't remove their hate. You have to start with the person and work outward not the other way around. We can outlaw guns, knives, forming a fist with your hand, baseball bats, ricin, TNT, hydrocodone, alcohol and every single thing that has ever caused harm to anyone. That won't stop people from beating each other, killing or comitting suicide.

    Our society is in trouble and no law can fix it. I don't know if there is a solution given our present state. People have left religion in droves. Nothing nearly as helpful has been put in place to hold our society together. Religion gets people to stop thinking about "me" and think about "we". Doing for others. Loving each other. Forgiving each other. Raising your kids and teaching them right and wrong. It's time to bring back guilty. Twenty years ago, guilt was driven out of our lives by people who wanted everyone to "feel good". Wake up people. Feeling good is not more important than doing the right thing.

    April 18, 2013 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  16. Zenger Folkman

    @Les "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" Knock it off, Les. Background checks do not prevent anyone who is not mentally ill or a convicted felon from buying a gun. But I suspect that you know this.

    April 18, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  17. methodistpreacher

    I am sick of seeing Gabby Giifords paraded out every time POTOUS makes a statement on gun control.

    April 18, 2013 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  18. Brian Halfmann

    Exactly why I don't vote any more until the congress (Rep + demo) can get along and do what's right for the people and quit acting like the Hafield's and Macoy's tring to make one look worstthen the other I am done..

    April 18, 2013 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  19. gordyb

    What did we expect this do nothing congress and senate to do anyway?

    April 18, 2013 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  20. UDidntBuildThat

    While I am sorry for what happened to this Congresswoman, it is a shame to use your situation to further an agenda that would have yielded the same result. The guy that shot u was mentally ill. The guy that killed those children was also mentally ill. Yet not one bill has be put forth by Congres, u or the President, to address the situation of our mentally sick people. Background checks would not have prevented your shooting nor prevented the shooting at Newtown. So SHAME ON YOU GIFFORDS and OBAMA for exploiting both crisises for political expediency! Now go away and go shoot your guns at the shooting range if u r unhappy with the outcome of this worthless Bill

    April 18, 2013 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  21. Howard

    ColdWarVet75, I agree, I was just trying to make the point that existing laws are not enforced enough and that everyone want to blame republicans. It also took democrats to vote against the amendments and that they also voted against the one I felt made the most sense.

    April 18, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  22. theINDEPENDENTone

    There is no shame in a democracy... Giffords should know that as she voted against every gun bill before she was shot and entered the PR business to profit off her tragedy and others.

    April 18, 2013 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  23. Gabe Canada

    The bomb used in Boston was likely smokeless black powder. The NRA blocked the ATF from placing tagents which can be used to trace the batch number and give an idea as to where the gun powder was sold and make it much easier to catch criminals who use black powder in bombs or in the high tech world of 3D printed guns and ammo making home made weapons of mass destruction that little bit harder. They NRA also of course and by extension the U.S. gun and ammo industry who are the real villains funding these morally abhorrent lobbyist, are supporting terror in this country today. They attack background checks and oppose adding those on Terror watch lists to our current background check system. The fact that an Al Quaida terrorist has a recruitment video on how easy it is to acquire an assault rifle in America should have been more than these Seantors needed to take action. I think its time we use the political tactics that Republicans use so often. These men are all palling around with terrorists. These men are making it easier for terrorists, gang members, murderers, and wifebeaters to own guns and to commit murder.

    April 18, 2013 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  24. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer


    There's a legal American doctrine that says "do not take the law into your own hands." But the reality is that what the GOPT/D told the American people yesterday is that they're on their own when it comes to domestic terrorism. Jarred Loughner, the murderer in the Tucson massacre was allowed by our disgraceful judicial system to plea guilty to his crimes for life in prison (cable tv, gym, library, opportunity to start a family of his own, medical care, ten daily square meals) over the death penalty, while Gabby Giffords is crippled for life and six are dead. As though the world didn't already see Loghner commit his crimes in broad day light and attempted to reload, the judicial system failed the victims and the American people by giving this mass murderer a second chance because he plead guilty to the crimes the whole world saw him commit in vroad day light. America, please wake to hell up. Please wake up before its too late.

    April 18, 2013 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  25. Debra

    No worries. Since this one did not get through the next one will, or the next. And the senators who voted against it will be dropped like the turds they are. This is not going away and the MAJORITY of Americans will have what they want. Harder to get a driver's license than a gun.........morons.

    April 18, 2013 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
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