Giffords on senators: 'Shame on them'
April 17th, 2013
10:03 PM ET
1 year 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. Ron

    Good for you, Representative Giffords!

    April 18, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  2. Mountain Goat

    I just don't believe this fiction that 80-90% of "the people" want more extended or universal background checks. I think the democrats are intentionally merge this notion with the real fact that the people just want current law and background checks properly implemented. Sorry Gabby that this horrible thing happened to you, and we are all impressed and pleased with your fight and strength of recovery, but your judgment is clouded because of your emotion and anger. The senators you and the Pres. are angry with have clear logic and truly understand their duty and won't be manipulated by misguided left leaning emotion. Constitutional rights must be protected, not tinkered with.

    April 18, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  3. Karen

    Get real! Do you goofy people really think that expanding background checks will stop idiots from shooting people? The people who go on shooting sprees are not getting their guns legally. You keep your stupid laws and I will keep my guns!

    April 18, 2013 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  4. JERRY

    I think we should ban all pressure cookers with more than a 3qt capacity. If they have a handle we should call them assualt cookers and be baned completly

    April 18, 2013 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  5. steven

    These senators right a wrong you were trying to do to this country.

    April 18, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  6. Paul

    When there are so many guns that members of the conservative Republican families are getting shot then things will change. I am tired of hearing these conservative senators say, Oh, my heart goes out, and we are so saddened to hear of the shooting....blah blah blah..and then turning around and voting "NO" on meaningful gun safety. Actually, by voting "NO", they are ok with the shooting of children. Shameful

    April 18, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  7. albus

    This will be the death knell for the the Republicans at the next term elections. With 85-90% of Americans polled in favor of, at least, better background checks, voting such legislation down shows the Republicans did not do their homework.

    April 18, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  8. K. Parks

    Well I'm FURIOUS too that your attacking the right of the good people. Here's the problem: Sure backround checks sounds great. But we just can't trust the government to guarantee anything. Databases eventually get hacked and released. Government promises something now, but a few years down the road they change thier mind and POOFFF, now they have access to every gun owner. Social Security #'s were established for just 1 sole purpose. Years later, it's the key to your identity.

    I agree that there are tragic events occuring that we must do something about. I support that. Gun control isn't the answer.

    April 18, 2013 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  9. history repeats

    Just keep swimming

    April 18, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  10. AZDesert

    It was tragic what happened to Giffords. I'm from Tucson, and voted for her everytime. She was very pro-2nd amendment, BUT... the amendment that failed would have done absolutely NOTHING to stop Jared Laughner from buying a gun. Jared did go through a background check and PASSED. The new amendment would NOT have fixed that at all.

    April 18, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  11. John-117

    Giffords opinion on the subject really doesn't matter, because she too biased. Her calling for the ban on assault weapons is like a plane crash survivor calling on the government to ban airplanes. Mass shootings are more rare than plane crashes and there shouldn't be drastic change based of rare events. The vast majority of us will never be shot.

    April 18, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  12. CW

    Gabbie apparently thinks her tragedy trumps our constitutional system. It does not.

    April 18, 2013 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  13. Haole

    It is clear that our elected representatives are not representing those who voted for them. Given the huge majority of people in this country that want improved/stronger background checks, it is a travesty that this bill was voted down. My Senators will hear from me and I encourage everyone who wants stronger background checks to do the same. I am not worried that the government is going to confiscate weapons; however I think they should confiscate the NRA and the thugs that run it!

    April 18, 2013 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  14. ezduzit757

    These senators will have to look into the mirror the day after the next shooting spree – and we all sadly know there will be one – and know that they have blood on their hands. They will have to look into the eyes of future victims' families and know that they had a chance to do something and chose instead to think only of themselves. I would hate to be one of them on that day.

    April 18, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  15. Nicholas Smith

    AN OPEN LETTER TO THE PEOPLE WHO WANT TO LIVE IN A COUNTRY WITHOUT GUNS: Go ahead, move to one of them. But if you want to live here, remember that your right to live freely here was won with the lives and blood of a legion of people with guns that fought and killed with those guns. In fact, they are still doing it. So quit complaining, quit trying to disarm the rest of us, and be happy. God bless and keep you.

    April 18, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  16. RINO Bill

    Shame on those who generated these poorly-written amendments. It did not seem like a lot of thought went into them. Heck, Feinstein's amendment seemed to be nothing more than a hasty cut and paste wish list from various gun control advocacy groups' literature.

    Shame on those senators who were bullied and scared into voting for such bad pieces of legislation.

    April 18, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  17. Brightly

    Not sure why we have to wait for failed gun legislation to talk about grotesque failures on the Hill. Both houses of Congress are dominated by cowards, bought as they are by various moneyed interests, and contemptuous of their constituents, the word "compromise," and any sense of the national good. Our democracy may be a shining light for others, but for us, we are being had by money grubbing narcissists who are obsessed with their own sense of importance, who do little, who cling to their petty perks, and who represent real burdens for the nation. But the fault is ours alone for election these dead weights.

    April 18, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  18. suzibee

    I couldn't be more disgusted with this Senate than I am right now. And I said that just a few months ago!
    I hope all of you who elected the "no" senators contact them to express your disgust as well.
    This is embarrassing.

    April 18, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  19. dictator

    Shame on you gifford

    April 18, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  20. Kathryn Snyder

    We now have politicians with no moral spine. What more can we do to get these laws passed. Maybe more demonstrations inWash DC?? I am amazed at the small thinking of our representatives.
    Only Somalia has more guns than the US. Right..... Shame on them.....

    April 18, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  21. chupacabra

    I love it ...it makes me sad that it didnt fail by an even larger gap...the "impassioned minority" got beat by the" impassioned majority" the way it should be...and so much for all the sad storys.

    April 18, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  22. Joan

    Does this surprise anyone? Too much NRA money is pushing these senators. Remember how the Republicans truly feel about the American people. They don't care about what we think & feel. Just remember Norquist & the SuperPacs during the election. There is the purse-string! Plus Republicans don't think we will remember come election time. They think we are dumb while they laugh all the way to the bank!

    April 18, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  23. lynnarobe

    AMEN. I am ashamed to say I'm an American today. I was hopeful that our elected officials could put asside their politics and do what is right for once.

    April 18, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  24. Dochowie

    I don't own a weapon however i believe that imposing background checks would not interfere with law abiding citizens acquiring a weapon if they chose to. My personal opinion aside, the checks do not address the issues that led to the tragedies over the years. We have a mental health issue in this country that people do not want to address. As for the argument that the background checks would lead to the government coming after you to take your weapons, i'm not convinced of that. Address the real issues and take the emotion out of it. Stop using victims to make your case.

    April 18, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  25. Heartland Teacher

    It is disappointing that the U.S. Senate rejected this amendment. As a gun owner, it is easy to argue against stricter gun control and gun laws. The arguments are tired and overused for both sides. However, someone will have to explain to me how expanding background checks would be HARMFUL. Even if years later we figure out it wasn't able to help very much, there is no harm in checking the background of someone wishing to buy a gun. If these checks stopped even a few people or saved a few people, then it would be worth it. To say it would do much in reducing gun violence is missing the point.

    April 18, 2013 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
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