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. Mr. Gun Rights

    The kid that shot her would have still been able to "Legally" obtain a gun under their proposed gun laws !!! Just an F.Y.I. !!

    April 18, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  2. Mr. Gun Rights

    America has spoken so you Liberals need to stop crying and get back to your pathetic lives !!

    April 18, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  3. Bill

    It's all about the gun manufacturers and its lobby and how they fund the NRA. It's all about money and politics, not safety or our congressional representatives caring about what their constituency or the general public want. It's all about control and money..... and political electability.

    April 18, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  4. Dave

    The Senators did what they were supposed to do. They voted down a proposal that would have done nothing to prevent future events and would have just impacted lawful gun owners.

    He lied about 90% of the public supporting the proposal. The public supports the existing background checks but not the bill.

    He needs to realize that this is not a dictatorship and that in order to pass things he needs to work with the other side. Working with the other side does not mean that they must compromise and do what he wants either. If he actually found common ground he would probably get some of what he wants.

    Instead he acts like a spoiled child, throws insults at the opposition and stands on the graves of dead children to try to get his way. HIs actions yesterday were appalling and embarassing.

    April 18, 2013 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  5. Bryan Reed

    "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."
    (Ben Franklin 1755) While I genuinely like Mrs. Giffords', this is a classic example of being too close (literally) to the situation to have perspective. A much better approach would be to address the broken and poorly funded mental health situation that exists in the US. Mrs. Giffords' perpetrator's mental instability was very well known by many in responsible positions for years and yet the current system failed her and continues to fail many others. Where is the outcry for the actual issue at fault?

    April 18, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  6. Senior

    So what if 30,000 people get shot every year. That's the price to pay for "freedom" and the 2nd Amendment is alive and well....we now know who rules the country, and we know the politicians who pimped the country to the gun lobby.

    April 18, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  7. Goodguy6410

    Sorry for what happened to her. However, this was an example of the people saying "No" to bigger, more obtrusive government and incremental degradation of our rights and liberties. Sensible minds chose not to be pushed around by Democrats. Gabby, go home with rocket man and get some rest...and take your guns with you.

    April 18, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  8. sam

    What about background checks on pressure cookers, nails, knives, baseball bats, alcohol, abortions, etc..etc..etc..that kills adults and children and babies?

    April 18, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  9. Larry in Houston

    a good example is with that girl that was at Obama's inauguration – & got shot after she got back in Chicago – the boy that shot her -mis-took her for another gang member – from what I understand & read – he had a rap sheet a mile long – he's had a history of gun violence – + he's had broken laws involving a gun – SO, what does our Laws do about it ? they take him IN – book him / send him behind bars for a while, then what happens ? That's right, he gets out after 6 months / a year / or 2 years, or whatever. Then what happens ? He does the same crime again, over & over, and eventually gets caught.

    To address the problem correctly : we need to have stricter crime laws, period. It's crazy that people continually gets "let out" of jail, or prison, to do the same type of crimes they've done before.

    April 18, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  10. ADiGioia

    Right... when she and her husband turn in their high-capacity pistols and "assault" weapons, I'll take her a little more seriously...

    April 18, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  11. Tired

    I'm pretty sure it was Jarrod that shot you, Ms. Giffords, and not the Glock. Until you understand that difference you will not be able to understand why these Senators declined to infringe on the 2nd Amendment. We need mental health reform, not so called gun control. A gun is a tool. Yes, it is a very deadly tool, but it has no volition on its own. It must have an external source use it before it does anything. Passing stupid laws that don't do a thing to stop criminals from obtaining guns but cause hardship for those who want to exercise their rights doesn't help. I agree that something needs to be done regarding the Senatorial votes from Wednesday. Those who voted for this unlawful bill need to be retired from their cushy jobs in order to let good, upstanding people who will protect the Constitution start their Senate careers.

    April 18, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  12. nitrous

    All of you "gun ownership rights" yahoos don't know what it's like to be directly affected by gun violence. If you are a responsible gun owner, you shouldn't have a problem with this proposed legislation. This whole "debate" would be put to an end as soon as they publish the aftermath photos of all of those kids & teachers from the Newtown incident. And don't bother responding to this post because your ignorance will fall on deaf ears – in this case, eyes.

    April 18, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  13. rockysfan

    You are so right, Gabby, SHAME ON THEM. If they in DC can't do the job, WE the PEOPLE, need to vote their cowardly arses out of office and put someone in that listens to the voice of the PEOPLE and not some whiny group that is NOT elected to the office! I hope that they are never in Gabby's shoes or those of the people in Newtown. God help them then!

    April 18, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  14. allison

    Nothing prevented a paroled felon from getting a legal gun from a straw buyer, then he murdered the Colorado DOC chief. Obama had "cops as props" at the Colorado appearance, and none of them wanted to be used in that manner. Obama used Newton families by flying them on AF1, now he's going to Boston, and his appearance and all the added security needed will just take away from those who are investigating the bombings.

    April 18, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  15. AnotherGuest

    Sadly, this former senator thinks her rights trump mine. They do not. Just because you got shot does not mean I have to relent to increased government intrusion on my private life. I have done nothing wrong. I did not shoot you, nor do I care to. I would use a weapon to protect you, if necessary. What you and those like you who want these useless "expanded background checks" seem to forget is there are ALREADY laws on the books to do this. You also forget that the NRA is made up of law abiding citizens, not an organized criminal element. You also forget that criminals, by nature, do not care about regulations and gun control. Therefore, any law you put on the books will only have loopholes for the criminally-minded to walk through, and another tragedy will happen. Then you will all point fingers at law-abiding citizens again, take away more gun ownership rights, until you take them altogether. That leaves me unable to defend you. What then?

    These senators did what they were supposed to do – listen to their constituents and vote accordingly. The only shameful thing here is the parading of innocent victims to play on the sympathies of the ignorant masses to vote to take away the rights of intelligent and law-abiding gun owners.

    Shame on them, indeed.

    April 18, 2013 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  16. Guest

    Now lets move on to the nations most pressing needs instead of wasting resources on bogus gun control legislation, gay marriage and amnesty. Of course, the liberals wont do that....

    April 18, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  17. David

    That Senate bill created more loopholes than it closed. It effectively did nothing. The next bill needs to do better. I'm glad they voted THIS ONE down. Hopefully a better one will be next.

    April 18, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  18. jeff

    >to Roger: Sir you are WRONG! A proper background check on the VA Tech shooter could have revealed his mental disorder which had been thoroughly documented but not allowed to be in the background database. If it had,he could not have purchased the gun he used in that shooting! It would not have prevented Sandy Hook, but the real blame for that one is the "law abiding citizen" who 1) knew that her son had a mental condition and 2) bought the weapons he used and left them accessible to him! So all "law abiding citizens" do not necessarily get a free pass on gun ownership and responsible use! The bill voted on yesterday was not just about Sandy Hook, Aurora, Columbine, etc. It was about establishing a "system" of safety measures to lessen the probability of gun violence. It specifically stated there would be no registry of firearms, it specifically stated that it would not allow confiscation of legally owned guns. Background checks are only one component of that system, along with education, training, among others. The NRA has absolutely no interest in the welfare or safety of its members or citizens, only the millions of dollars the gun and ammunition manufacturers make by perpetuating a myth and fear that drives the uninformed into spending money on weapons and ammo that they will probably never use in their entire lifetime....unless they hunt or commit a crime!

    April 18, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  19. Liberty Brigade

    Its unfortunate Gilfords was attacked by an Islamic terrorist...I just wonder why she went after banning guns instead of banning terrorists. I think she would have had the majority of the public behind her on that one.

    April 18, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  20. Anton

    Shame on the gifords for having pictures of them taken shooting guns and telling people they love guns.

    Mark under any circumstances do you step up and not bend down to the NRA

    April 18, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  21. Justin

    I am from NY, and normally I would be for something like this,and calling anyone who is against it an NRA nut, Until what happened to something like several million lawful gun owners that have done nothing wrong, here in NY. They passed a bill that harasses, targets, and criminalizes lawful citizens of the state, that have done nothing wrong, instead of making a bill that targets actual criminals, and psychos (for instance a law that states, if you use a gun, and someone ends up dead and it is not self defense, you face the death penalty, and armed guards in schools).Not for nothing, I believe that lawful gun owners, and even the NRA would go holding hands with lawmakers if they really wanted laws on the books that targets criminals, but since that has not happened here in NY, and the rest of the nation seen that (the governor said that NY was the model for the rest of the country) it looks like the Senate rejected the bill..In a round about sort of way.. Mrs Gifford can thank the governor of NY for giving gun control people a bad name by harassing, criminalizing, and targeting, NY citizens that have done nothing wrong.

    April 18, 2013 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  22. Liberty Brigade

    Oops...wrong shooting, theres been so many under Obama I get them mixed up...Gilfords should have pursued educating on the dangers of mentally ill with weapons.

    April 18, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  23. v_mag

    As one who appreciates irony, there are plenty of chuckles in this discussion for me. My biggest belly laugh came when reading one person tout the efficacy of "education" as a cure for gun violence. Education! From a person who couldn't compose a literate sentence if his/her life depended on it. From a person who thought the Second Amendment was absolute. From one of a group of people who swallow the NRA line of lies like it was a chocolate malt.

    Yeah, education will fix everything. The problem is, most of the right wing nuts posting here were educated at Bubba's School for the Terminally Neanderthal.

    April 18, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  24. Guest

    Well said Justin. Reality, rationality and the freedoms of the constitution won the day as they ALWAYS should.

    April 18, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  25. rick in Texas

    Jason,...."That's how democracy works"....Please enlighten me. I thought in a democracy majority rules.Well it seems to me that 86-90%(depending on which poll you read) of Americans are FOR universal background checks. 54 Senators voted FOR the amendment with universal back ground checks THATS A MAJORITY!!! The republicans rant and rave about freedoms and then rig the political process so that the minority rules through 60- vote- majority in the senate, to jerrymandering at the state level. Congratulations republicans on making this a FASCIST state where the minority corpocracy rules. and shame on those like Max Backus and other DEMS for playing along. It is time America, to stop this Fascist movement in its tracks and get out to vote in 2014 make all these people pay both Democrats and Republicans for not listening to the American people .But you have a great force to defeat and it wont be easy or cheap we must not let the minority rule.

    April 18, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
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