July 2nd, 2013
08:04 AM ET
10 months ago

Giffords shoots gun during tour to promote background checks

Updated 9:48 a.m. ET, 7/2

Washington (CNN) – Former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, are in Alaska Tuesday on the second stop of a week-long, seven state tour across the nation trying to build public support for enhanced background checks for gun purchases.

The stops are specifically aimed at states where Senators voted no in April, such as Sen. Joe Heck (R-Nevada) and Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), or those who voted yes, including Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), for the Manchin-Toomey background check provision that would have brought enhanced background checks to guns bought at shows or over the internet.

The couple is calling it the "Rights and Responsibilities" tour, which is sponsored by the group, Americans for Responsible Solutions, which they formed in January to help reduce gun violence in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut elementary school shooting in December.

READ MORE: A pop, a flash and a life forever changed: Giffords' comeback and gun debate

On Monday, during their first stop in Las Vegas, Giffords and Kelly, who pride themselves as gun owners and proponents of the Second Amendment, went to a gun range and shot - the first time the former congresswoman had done so since she was gravely wounded in her hometown of Tucson, Arizona in January of 2011. Giffords and Kelly also met with local leaders at the Latin Chamber of Commerce.

"Days before we celebrate our Declaration of Independence and the values that make our nation great, I am taking this week to pay tribute to the Second Amendment – both the rights it bestows and the responsibilities it requires. Some might consider me an unlikely advocate for gun rights because I sustained terrible injuries in a violent shooting. But I'm a patriot, and I believe the right to bear arms is a definitive part of our American heritage," Giffords wrote in an op-ed published Tuesday in USA Today.

"We can't stop every person who is determined to do harm, but common-sense measures can prevent tragedies. Expanding background checks will help create a uniform standard for all gun purchases and prevent criminals and the dangerously mentally ill from obtaining powerful weapons," she also said in the column.

"I know there will always be some in Congress who remain in the grip of special interests," Giffords wrote.

READ MORE: Who is Gabby Giffords?

While she discussed how a majority of Americans still supports the idea of expanding background checks, the strength of the gun lobby is evident in the defeat of the measure in April and the chances of it being brought back up for a second vote are not clear as the National Rifle Association continues to fight the proposal.

With additional stops in North Dakota, Ohio, New Hampshire, Maine and North Carolina in the coming days Giffords summed up her goal in the op-ed: "we'll celebrate those who vote yes, and we'll notice those who ignored their constituents."


Filed under: Gabrielle Giffords • Gun control • Gun rights • Mark Kelly
soundoff (234 Responses)
  1. Jason B

    This is filed under top story? Really? At best it should be under Human Interest, or the good old fashioned social column, but that's about it. Nice to see CNN is back to pulling out all the stops in its gun control agenda, instead of being responsible and JUST reporting the news.

    July 2, 2013 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  2. Franklin

    NRA promotes gun safety. Hypocritical Hollywood liberals exploit guns and violence.

    July 2, 2013 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  3. Richard

    Her is something interesting....For those commenting on the proposed new background check that failed to pass...try searching for Why Expand Gun Background Checks When Only 13 Were Prosecuted For Breaking the Law? BY Congressman Harris...

    It is very interesting

    July 2, 2013 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  4. Franklin

    This reminds me of a silly looking Dukakis riding in a tank.

    July 2, 2013 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  5. Richard

    hypocrite...anyone with that kind of brain injury should be in the too crazy to operate catagorey...mental health issue

    July 2, 2013 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  6. Auggie Doggy

    Who's pushing the agenda here – the former Senator, or her husband – with stars in his eyes, maybe?

    Kinda reminds me of James Brady and wife – he was simply a prop for his wife's relentless campaign against legal gun owners. Registered guns didn't shoot these people – lunatics did.

    July 2, 2013 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  7. treblehook66

    Her position would carry more weight if she were to come to NY and speak AGAINST the unreasonable and illogical SAFE act as garbage legislation such as this works against meaningful regulation.

    By the way, I demand that ALL politicians who impact law enforcenemt and military decisions in the US undergo extensive background checks, drug testing, and have a clean mental hygeine record.

    July 2, 2013 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  8. Spgfld Tom

    The Obamanistas must be desperate to get the scandals du jour off the headlines if they are dragging poor Gabby out. Honestly, boys and girls, do you want a government bureaucrat (ala Lisa Lerner) be in charge of gun registrations? NSA could then just focus their efforts on gun owners ('cuz we all know gun owners are just terrorist at heart).

    July 2, 2013 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  9. LibsGoneFullRetard

    I love how liberals continue to treat the 2nd amendment differently from any other right. The fact that they are stuck in a fake Utopian fantasy is really disturbing. Liberty is gone when you want the government to control your life and from what I've read on here, the majority of the left comments want big brother to hold their hands their entire life. Heres the bottom line. YOU don't get to tell us that we are bad people for exercising the 2nd Amendment. I'm not stating libs are bad people because they loooovvvvve exercising their 1st amendment rights. If you want control, move to a 3rd world country. If you want to be free, respect the foundations of the country and that everyone's rights are to be treated equal.

    Also, most of the statistics I've seen post, arguing for gun control, are incorrect.. Just sayin'

    July 2, 2013 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
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