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. Freedom Storm

    Thomas Sowell recently stated that all of those lives SAVED by guns are just as precious, regardless of the fact that they are completely ignored by the media.

    April 18, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  2. Brian

    Shame on you for trying to erode the rights of others by using emotion. We may not agree with everything everyone says, however that does not mean we want to limit the 1st Amendment. The same goes for the 2nd Amendment.

    April 18, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  3. Guest

    Out of all of the comments here, the threats, hate and ill will toward others comes predominantly from the left.....odd isnt it?

    April 18, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  4. GI Joe

    The republicans have left in place something that AlQuaida loves and advertises.

    Weapons no one else will let them buy. Just the republicans in the U.S. And 4 sorry dems that we will kick out.

    April 18, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  5. Steve

    This bill did not infringe upon the 2nd Amendment rights of anyone and many who voted against this bill agree. The GOP will live to regret this – as the backlash against the NRA is only beginning. People seem to forget that the NRA was in support of this not long ago. The guy lobby has the loudest voice but they clearly do not represent the majority. History is not on their side.

    April 18, 2013 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  6. JeffersonLives

    When the standing armies of the world, including ours throws down their weapons...I will then throw down mine. Unitl then, I am not giving my guns up. So long as the governments are armed, so must the people be as ward off despotism and tyranny.

    April 18, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  7. Amir

    Mark my words: if we cannot make our communities safer with the Congress we have now, we will use every means available to make sure we have a different Congress, one that puts communities’ interests ahead of the gun lobby’s. To do nothing while others are in danger is not the American way.

    April 18, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  8. Zenger Folkman

    Would someone please explain what the problem with filling in the gaps in the background checks system is? And no, the "slippery slope" arguement doesn't cut it for anyone with a brain.

    April 18, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  9. TPitt

    The senators voted just the way I wanted them to vote. I know only a handful of people who were actually for this. I am not sure where the liberals are getting this 90% number and would venture to guess that the number might be more like 10%. The poeple that support this live in area's where their local and state government have already trampled on the 2nd Ammendment. Of course the criminals would like to make it harder also because it will not affect them.

    I recommend that you folks who support stuff like this and begin to use your brains. "Outlaws do not follow the law". If you want to pass a law about the mentally ill people owning guns, pass that. Don't make me pay for those who break the law.

    April 18, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  10. Richard

    Gabby Gifford is truly a hero and she is an inspiration to all who know or know of her and I sincerely believe you should stand up for the things that are meaningful to us but we should express our concerns and not chastise those in opposition.

    April 18, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  11. Nate

    I think Giffords is too close to the issue to see it clearly and calmly. I'm not saying whether she is right or wrong, just that it is an emotional issue for her and she will only ever see it one way. And for her, it is probably the right position. But it doesn't mean it is the right position for the entire country. Instead of calling shame on each other and berating people who do not agree with you, we need to be able to talk about things and agree that we may not agree. Even though there was BI-PARTISAN opposition no one wants to talk about the issues or concerns other than to yell their own position and insult the opposition. I worry about my kids future because of what labels people will apply to them and then castigate them with. Where is the home of the free?

    April 18, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  12. Zenger Folkman

    So JeffersonLives, you are going to take on the "standing armies of the world" with your little arsenal? ROFL!

    April 18, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  13. RD

    Her opinion holds no more weight than that of any of the thousands of people who saved themselves from harm or death because they were armed. But we never get lead stories from those "survivors."

    April 18, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  14. igor1963

    Just looking to this forum it is obvious that those senators who defeated this bill just listen to there constituents. It seems a bit over 50% support of there action in this forum.

    April 18, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  15. v_mag

    JeffersonLives said: "When the standing armies of the world, including ours throws down their weapons...I will then throw down mine. Unitl then, I am not giving my guns up. So long as the governments are armed, so must the people be as ward off despotism and tyranny."
    Another giant belly laugh for me. Very high rhetorical language to express a total paranoid fantasy. Jeffy, you vote for these guys. You probably complain because they never do anything in Washington. What makes you think they could ever get a majority together to come get your guns? Washington is totally ineffectual and there aren't 2 people in the entire government who even care that you own a gun.

    If things changed and they somehow, in your fantasy world, decided to take your guns, who would they send to do it? The military, that's who. But the military is made up of people from families who own guns. There might be 5 guys who would obey an order to kick down Grandma's door and take her .410. How long will it take those 5 guys to get around to the X million gun owners?

    Jeffy, you live in total denial of reality. If there were a government that wanted to take your puny little weapons, and if they could get their soldiers to carry out those orders, they would bowl you over with tanks, RPGs, helicopters, and jet fighters. You wouldn't have a prayer. Get real, Jeffy.

    April 18, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  16. JP

    Since Gabby Giffords and Obama actually want to repeal the 2nd Amendment they schould just say that is their goal and stop trying to pick at the edges of it with legislation that does nothing to curb violence....

    these fools actually believe that a bill will stop criminals from getting guns...

    April 18, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  17. Mike Mongo

    I've seen alot of commentary about polls indicating the "will of the people". Well, polls do not decide our legislation, if that were the case, we'd be whip-sawed back and forth at the whim of the news agencies worse than we already are. The will of people can be measured by the legislation that has been passed the last four years, which reflects a culture in transition: we want gays to marry and be treated equally, we want hard working immigrants to have a path to citizenship, regardless of how they get here, and we want to retain our right to bear arms any way we wish. As a middle of the road citizen of these United States, I feel more than fine with our overall legislative actions the past few months.

    April 18, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  18. Romulan

    I don't understand how this proposal infringes on second amendment. If I want to go fishing I need a license in many places. If I want to buy liquor or tobacco I need to be over some age and have photo ID. Nobody said you can't own handguns. But nobody need to have armor piercing 30-shot clips to protect their family or hunt games. Our founding father only had muskets when the 2nd amendment was passed. They definitely would think twice allowing public to own the latest and greatest killing machines available.

    April 18, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  19. Harbin

    If it were just about background checks I would be more interested in the idea. But, the background checks would be the first step to control guns with the next step to start banning them and with the new data base maybe start confiscation. Don't laugh, there are some states in this country that have already passed laws to force residents to register their guns or risk them being confiscated. Maybe now "officials" can start working on the real causes of violence rather than the instrument used. We can't / don't even enforce the guns laws that we already have, how are we going to enforce additional laws or bans?

    April 18, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  20. Frank

    I am truly sorry for Mrs. Gifford but her husband shouldn't run the poor woman out in public to say see this is what guns do. The nut did it. Mr. Gifford's dog can go out and kill baby seals but nothing is said about that.

    Thank you Senate for protecting our rights.

    April 18, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  21. Guest

    Rick you are sadly misinformed, democracy does not mean majority rules.

    April 18, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  22. Pam from Iowa

    money from the NRA slipped under the table into the hands of members of Congress goes a long way.....

    April 18, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  23. Romulan

    If guns really save lives, I'm sure some of the 6 people died from gun violence in the entire 2012 in Japan could have been saved. You save all those 6 people, how many more will have to die? 600? 6,000? Japan is not a crime free country. But if they want to rob a bank or massacre elementary school students, they wouldn't use assualt rifles or semi-autos.

    April 18, 2013 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  24. Rick 7809

    There are a lot of comments on these pages about constitutional rights. I would suggest that some of these folks actually read what the constitution says, instead of what someone else tells them, about the second ammendment. Then read what the bills actually say instead of taking about someone confiscating your guns. It you really want to be scared about your constitutional rights, read up on the Patriot Act, signed by "W".

    April 18, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  25. Randy

    It takes 60 senate votes to bring a bill up for vote...Universal background checks would not have prevented Newtown. Come up with something that will work. Look at Chicago and NY...some of the toughest gun laws. Is it working? NO it isn't. Put the killers and would-be killers away.

    April 18, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
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