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. BigJohn2

    Get over it. I don't see her trying to fight the criminals, mental health issues, drugs, and poverty. Focus on the real issues. Also, don't see her wanting to ban pressure cookeres either.

    April 18, 2013 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  2. eleridge

    Why didn't Congress do something simple? Like trying to get Obama to enforce current laws?

    April 18, 2013 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  3. plain&simple

    She speaks the truth and truth.will overcome the self serving greed and lack of concern for what is right shown by the cowardly senators.

    April 18, 2013 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  4. Ed

    Gifford was shot – that does not made her an expert on how to stop gun violence or treat the mentally ill. In fact the bill she supports would do NOTHING to stop the type shooting she was involved in. Now if the Giffords actually wanted to decrease gun violence they would be out there supoorting a life sentence or the death penalty for anyone using a gun to commit a felony. They should be going after those that use guns to commit a crime directly – not gun control laws that the criminals and crazies just ignore.

    April 18, 2013 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  5. Ed

    Gifford was shot – that does not made her an expert on how to stop gun violence or treat the mentally ill. In fact the bill she supports would do NOTHING to stop the type shooting she was involved in. Now if the Giffords actually wanted to decrease gun violence they would be out there supoorting a life sentence or the death penalty for anyone using a gun to commit a felony. They should be going after those that use guns to commit a crime directly – not gun control laws that the criminals just ignore.

    April 18, 2013 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  6. Adam

    Wooo hooo! Govt power limited!!!

    April 18, 2013 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  7. Jerry

    No, no! Shame on you!!! You, some Democrats and Mr. Obama are the biggest liars in the whole US of A. How unfathomable! Then Obama acts and pretends he never lies.

    And, lets be clear, HE IS and has been using victims as props. Period!!!

    April 18, 2013 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  8. Wade Wut Diedre Yousef Saide

    Wait, so it's the senators fault now? I thought the guns were the evil ones...

    April 18, 2013 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  9. Surfer George

    They WILL NOT be reelected. Money cannot buy our votes on this. We're fighting for the SENSIBLE safety of our children, our siblings, our parents, grandparents.
    We're fighting for the RIGHT to be represented by the people we sent to Congress.
    This vote is the clearest demonstration that We The People really DO NOT MATTER to the current IGNORANT MAJORITY of Senators in Congress.

    OK, either THEY are ignorant or WE are ignorant, but we will not know that till the 2014 mid term elections. If ANY of the "nay" voters are reelected, it will be a sign of our failure as a society. If the indominable majority cannot have their will represented by Congress, then we need to send the enemy home. If, at the mid-terms we chose not to remove them or fail to have them voted out, it will be a sign that Congress is owned, OWNED Q W N E D by Corporate America, that it no longer represents We The People AND that we no longer participate in the running of our Country.

    April 18, 2013 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  10. Dr. Joseph Mellen

    It might have passed if the other senators had not keep adding amendments to the original bill.

    April 18, 2013 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  11. jim

    Giffords, please go away. Your 15 minutes are up.

    April 18, 2013 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  12. HenryMiller

    What's the shame in defending the Constitution?

    April 18, 2013 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  13. Antonio Taverner

    Wait till election time it will be our turn to vote and the republicans will regret their vote!

    April 18, 2013 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  14. scieng1

    It is sad to see people furious because an ammendment to a bill intended to give more power to criminals was defeated. It is also sad to see liberals who used to have a social conscience favor restrictions on the innocent over reducing violence. It was a sad day for America, but simply because this bill and ammendment were even considered and gained ANY votes. We should focus on what provides safety first, and this had nothing to do with promoting safety.

    April 18, 2013 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  15. Jeff

    Get mad if you wish. If you want to make a real change then go through the process to change the 2nd Amendment.

    April 18, 2013 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  16. rosethornne

    Replace Harry Reid with someone who will actually put through filubuster reforms.

    This 60% nonsense to even allow discussion of a bill is unAmerican and undemocratic.

    The only issues that should be permitted to require anything but 50% to proceed are clearly listed in the Constitution.

    There's nothing wrong with voting against a bill. There are many things wrong with preventing even the thought of discussion about a topic that might be voted on.

    I think Harry Reid must be secretly a teabaglican in disguise.

    April 18, 2013 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  17. VA Teacher

    Where is her equal fury over the hundreds of violent gun deaths in Chicago and other inner-city areas?

    April 18, 2013 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  18. Guest

    Actually they decided to do something and it was the right thing. Upholding the contitutional rights of all citizens is a better answer than punishing them for the actions of criminals. I dont understand why the left is so willing to have their rights taken away??? Men and women have died for our freedoms, how quickly you forget.......

    April 18, 2013 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  19. TAJ

    Sorry, but you and every other Democrat has been standing w/ feet firmly planted on the graves of those poor children for months in the hopes of gutting our 2nd Amendment rights. If this were not so, why was the Republican proposal dismissed outright w/o even the slightest consideration? America didn't buy what you were selling.

    April 18, 2013 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  20. ladeeda

    Giffords is right.

    It was defeated with a minority vote in the Senate due to the GOP filibuster, when 90% of Americans, 80% of Republicans, and 70% of NRA members supported it.

    It is shameful.

    The only rights that were protected from infringement by defeating an expanded background check, were those of criminals and the dangerously mentally ill.

    It shows that the GOP do not represent the American people and that a majority "yes" vote, like this bill had, can rarely get anything passed anymore as the GOP filibuster almost all legislation to stall progress – even their own at times – even the veteran's jobs bill – even the first extension of unemployment benefits at the height of the recession.

    It is all about ideology with the GOP, not about what the American people want or need. It is about supporting special interests, distorting the facts to do so, and also about slowing the recovery and blocking anything Obama supports as a strategy to regain power, and we all pay the price for this.

    April 18, 2013 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  21. calamity jane

    46 Senators who should see themselves unemployed in 2014. Get them out of the way of progress with your vote and we can move on in the right direction as a nation. When you stop listening to your constituents who overwhelmingly support some responsible gun laws, then you are no longer needed. Maybe the NRA, who is paying you the big bucks and sending you on luxury vacations can support your a55es for the rest of your lowly lives. Your tongues must get awfully dirty licking all those NRA boots.

    April 18, 2013 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  22. DDT

    As an outsider looking who also spends significant time in the US I am astonished at the level of fear in the country that prevents the congress from passing an extension of the current background check law to nearly all gun sales!

    April 18, 2013 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  23. ZhenBang

    I for one, am proud of the senetors.I respect Gabby Giffords and all that she has endured, and I do not blame her for the position she holds. But I do not agree with that position and I do not think it would be wise. If there was a well though out, rational, and as politicians like to say, common sense legislation that was coming to the loor, the I would support it. But when the legislation is being rushed through to ride to capitalize on the wave of emotion the country is feeling at the moment, and being concieved through emotion as well, I do not think that is ever a good policy on how to make a law. If it would reduce violence, not infringe on the rights of people, and be a benefit to society, then I am all for it. But, if it will just be another law on the books, 1 more added to the 20000 that already exist and are not properly enforced, that is being made for a feel good reaction, then I am opposed. None of the proposals that i have heard come out of lawmakers except harsher punishments for straw buyers and harsher punishments for criminals that commit a crime with a gun, seem as if they would do one iota of difference.

    April 18, 2013 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  24. Namedoug smith

    Maybe she didn't read the fine print in the bill which directly goes violates the second amendment . The republican bill would have helped but was rejected by the democrats. The media bombbards us with outright lies and statistics that are slanted to say what they want said.

    April 18, 2013 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  25. Libertarian

    How many of the recent shootings were caused by lawfully obtained firearms? That's what I thought. This is a meaningless bill and is only a 'pat your own back' feel good one that does nothing to stop criminal behavior.

    April 18, 2013 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
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