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. Teresa Davis

    m123, I don't know where you live, but here in Georgia we've always been required to show ID when voting, fill out "forms" and take a "test" when applying for a driver's license, or even when adopting a dog. We got rejected at the Humane Society, because they checked with our vet and our cat was overdue for her shots. Really. Good thing it didn't make me so angry I went and bought an assault weapon...

    April 18, 2013 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  2. naitoose

    m123, I don't know where you live, but here in Georgia we've always been required to show ID when voting, fill out "forms" and take a "test" when applying for a driver's license, or even when adopting a dog. We got rejected at the Humane Society, because they checked with our vet and our cat was overdue for her shots. Really. Good thing it didn't make me so angry I went and bought an assault weapon...which I am perfectly "free" to do.

    April 18, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  3. Zenger Folkman

    @ davienla "90% of Americans are in favor of background checks. The question that the polls do not ask is,"who should do the background checks, the state or federal government." The vast majority of Americans felt Conn. handled the problem their way. Remember...the Congress is the face of federal government in washington D.C. and 90% of Americans do not trust them." Whoa! The twists and urn in the "logic" of your statement made me ill. Are you quoting Glen Beck?

    April 18, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  4. Told You So

    sorry Gabby but you can't shame someone who has no shame...

    April 18, 2013 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  5. War919

    I feel for what Giffords has been through, but she is far too biased for her opinion to be controlling on this subject. Her own fears, stemming from her attack, are driving her desires to remove a fundamental right from the citizens of this nation. Laws shouls never spawn from emotion, but rather from a cold, logical analysis of the situation which merits the discussion in the first place.

    April 18, 2013 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  6. Pete

    Ms Giffords I applaud you and how strong you are after your terrible tragedy that shows why gun reform is important..Keep your head up mame we'll get this in time and time is on our side !!

    April 18, 2013 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  7. Lando

    Vote them out....done

    April 18, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  8. 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 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  9. NameJoe

    Read the fine print.

    April 18, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  10. Howard

    Gabe Canada, It is Obama palling around with terroist. Letting guns into the hands of Mexican drug cartels and sealing all infomation using executive orders,sell planes and tanks to Egypt. Your president is the problem.

    April 18, 2013 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  11. cliffintex

    This bill would do nothing for gun safety.With 48,000 gun purchase applications from felons and only 44 prosecuted, it's clear that laws on the books need to be followed. The far left cannot understand that these proposed checks would only affect law abiding citizens, not the criminal element. They have this weird belief that any gun owner is only moments away from doing something terrible. The really sad part about all of this is that some forward movement on background checks is probably worthwhile. Internet gun purchases should be checked but when you include the hysteria of checks for friends or family selling guns between them, it'll never fly.

    April 18, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  12. The REAL Truth...

    Good for Gabby! Biased or not as some seem to believe she is, I hope she keeps fighting. The proposed laws that failed do not remove the fundamental rights many believe exist in the 2nd Amendment. In one does basic research one can learn that the original intent of the Amendment was to protect a fledgling Republic from invasion by the Brits and to protect it from insiders who didn't agree with the form it took. The 2AM is a man-made law. It's not a God-given right to own a gun.. but it sure appears that the rights of the industry-funded NRA and it's demented mouthpiece sure outweigh my rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Whose right are being trampled?

    April 18, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  13. K from AZ

    I truly feel terrible and a great sadness about former AZ Rep. Giffords but, getting shot in the head doesn’t make one an expert on the complex issue of gun control! In the same sense, having a heart attack does not qualify one as a cardiologist or a traffic accident victim a traffic safety engineer! GUN CONTROL IS NOT ABOUT GUNS, IT IS ABOUT CONTROL!

    April 18, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  14. FLIndependent

    @MesaMax–All of the recent mass shootings had two things in common: guns and mental illness. Why did the president concentrate on the guns? Now when will he concentrate on the mental illness aspect?
    If you and those like you would perhaps actually listen to the President instead of your Faux News, Hannity, the NRA, etc. you may have learned that addressing mental health was in the legislation he wanted. Unfortunately, his proposals got so watered down that all that was left was expanded background checks and the nimwits in the Senate couldn't even agree on that even though it was a bi-partisan bill. Face it, the only reason why the NRA and its current followers are against this legislation is because it would give our President a victory and you can't have that. You know the NRA in the past was for expanded background checks and that it would not, in any way, take away your gun rights!

    April 18, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  15. eric

    I'm really glad that Gabrielle Giffords survived the attack on her life, but I still don't want people trying to decide for me what measures I am supposed to take to keep myself and my family safe.

    April 18, 2013 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  16. cliffintex

    I keep reading this 90% of Americans are for extended background checks. That figure is a fabrication of The President and the left leaning media. Perhaps 5% of the virulent anti gun ownership people want this, but the majority of people see this for what it is. A blatant grab at the 2nd Amendment.

    April 18, 2013 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  17. Rogers33

    The idiots like "Howard" who blame the President for all problems are why Howards party has lost 5 of the past 6 presidential elections. Our justice will come in the next set of elections when voters remember who voted NO in the senate.

    April 18, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  18. Ancient Texan

    The "polls" aside, I suspect the Senators voted exactly the way their base in their home districts wanted them to vote. The bill was not an iron-clad guarantee that the list would not become part of a registry of owners for future use.

    April 18, 2013 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  19. Sandman

    It was decided that there was no reason to add in anything that would not do anything to prevent anything like Sandy Hook. If all you are looking to do is disarm legal gun owners that will be fought by the legal gun owners.

    April 18, 2013 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  20. dtwoodworth

    It's all very well to try to shame people with the victims of mass public shootings, but it might be wise to prove your case first. So let's have it: show that gun control would prevent mass public shootings, and then you can play the shame card. Until then, shut up.

    As it happens, gun control makes mass public shootings more likely, as a simple perusal of a list of the places where mass public shootings have occurred will show.

    April 18, 2013 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  21. Morgan C

    Until they can enforce current laws we don't need new one's. You do have to submit to a background check when purchasing over the internet, just not at the time of purchase. When you go to the FFL it was mailed to though you do and you can't pick it up until you are approved, so that is a lie. We need meaningful change, which was not included in this bill. Make mental health records available now to law enforcement so they can better determine who should be denied the ability to purchase a weapon. That I a good start, however much more needs to be done.

    April 18, 2013 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  22. petey

    I have had my fill of people saying that they dont want the "govt" or Obama to take away or tell you what to do with your guns. There is NO legislation that has been or will be put forth now or in the future that will take away anyones weapons unless you have gotten hold of an AT4 or something like that. People that believe that need to stop listening to the pundits and read more for yourself. Stop the insanity

    April 18, 2013 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  23. petey

    This new law is meant to close loopholes so that EVERYONE!!!! plays by the rules unless your one of the few that are trying to skirt the rules for your own selfish gains. If you are not batcrap crazy or a convicted felon then you have nothing to worry about, if this would have been law you would have seen no change in normal life unless you fall in the catagory of the two previous mentioned.

    April 18, 2013 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  24. Harry Herriges

    I have to wonder, had the person who maimed Rep. Giffords had done so with an automobile, would she and congress be attempting to ban cars?

    April 18, 2013 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  25. Renee G

    What's really sad is some people think that the government is after their guns !! what is wrong with making guns a little harder to get ?? If it would save one life it's worth it !!! Shame on the senate for voting this down !! The people want this to happen and last i checked this was a country by the people and for the people !! As far as I am concerned congress, the senate and the hard core gun people will have blood on their hands. When the next mass shooting happens these people will be the first to say "what a tragedy !!" hypocrites !!! When it's your family that is killed through these sensless killings it will be a different story. You say responsible gun owners, well part of being responsible is trying to reduce the number of killings by guns, you say it's my right .. well what about my right to go to a movie, send my children to school, or walk down the street without the fear of being shot !! Yes we have freedoms in this country but they come with a cost and it should'nt be placed on the deaths of children. so the next time a 5 year old is shot 11 times look at your gun and ask if a cold piece of steele is worth their life !!!!

    April 18, 2013 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
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