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. PaulG

    Keeping criminals and the mentally ill from acquiring firearms is an acceptable goal, the other initiatives like banning semi-auto firearms and standard feeding devices stinks of a gun grabbing progressive democrat agenda sponsored by the likes of feinstein, big city mayor bloomturd, brady, HCI, VPC and all the other gun hating groups all too willing to sponsor someone to lead their charge. Our 2A rights exist and are protected for a reason MK, largely because those in power cannot be trusted (including to enforce existing law).

    July 2, 2013 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  2. Data Driven

    In the other thread, I suggested that Giffords will win. Here, I'll suggest she'll win in a big hurry.

    The Congresscritters will have to pass background legislation just to get her off the news talking about "special interests".

    Pass a bill, Congress.

    July 2, 2013 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  3. M1k3y

    Funny now they don't mention Reid, who voted against background checks, for Nevada instead of the Republican.

    July 2, 2013 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  4. cjhsa

    There are already background checks required for purchase at gun shows and through legitimate sites on the Internet. I've never been to a gun show where guns were sold without NICS checks. So, what the Giffords are trying to do makes no sense, unless you look for a hidden agenda. Guess what? There it is: GUN CONTROL.

    July 2, 2013 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  5. SwornToProtect

    I will only support background checks that do not create a record. Creating a record isn't a background check. Calling it such is no less than a lie. When someone who works for me applies for a job elsewhere and lists me a s a reference and I am contacted by the new prospective employer, I do not make a record of the contact or the reference I have given. That is a "background check". Creating a record of a background check is the creation of a registry. I am opposed to the creation of a record of purchases or ownership which exists for any duration of time past the background check itself.
    Why is it that we don't trust the government to monitor our phone calls and have the lowest confidence in Congress than ever before but are called paranoid if we believe that the Second Amendment protects us from our government?

    July 2, 2013 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  6. Doubtful

    Why do Democrats persist in wanting universal background checks, when their own folks in the DOJ has confirmed that this would do little to stem violence, and would not keep guns out of the hands of criminals. Is it just sheer stupidity, or perhaps an underlying agenda that is not made public? This is, in reality, a slow erosion of 2nd Amendment rights under the guise of "reasonable" restrictions. All it is, is a prelude to gun confiscation. Move along. Fix the economy. Create a few jobs, and get off law-abiding citizens who own guns.

    July 2, 2013 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  7. AreYouKidding?

    Sounds like someone was fresh out of attention this week. His exploited wife too.

    July 2, 2013 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  8. Kzooresident

    The clarity and common sense in her message is just amazing. Gun owners and the NRA should take heed, stop stone-walling the right actions and put the slippery-slope discussion to the side, (until such time as the slipping begins again). For the anti-gun crowd, don't know what to say... Her clarity and unarguable logic must be quite the thorn in your side.

    July 2, 2013 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  9. Realityblowz

    Not buying your snake oil. Sorry. All of these shootings happened in "Gun Free Zones" even Giffords, since it was illegal to have one near a member of Congress. Additionally, just about every shooter is a registered Democrat, or worked for a Democrat politician. Pretty alarming statistics.

    July 2, 2013 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  10. Reddog

    One can only hope that former Congresswoman Giffords and her husband would add some of New York's Congressional Representatives to their list of those who need to reconsider their knee-jerk, anti-Second Amendment reactions to the tragic mass shootings at places like Newtown CT. Common sense laws that will keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill is one thing, however infringing on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms by Senator Schumer and other NY Representatives is another.

    July 2, 2013 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  11. pevanb

    And I care about them why? Just a man that cannot even buy a gun because the store owners think he is a liar. She got shot get now she is better and now what did they find $5

    July 2, 2013 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  12. blaze562

    She sponsor's laws that are against guns but this is not a good example.

    July 2, 2013 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  13. Gurgyl

    USA needs total Gun-Ban Laws. Didn't you learn from SANDYHOOK????

    July 2, 2013 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  14. Roggy

    A background check is different that what she really wants to do, and that is gun registration. Why do they need to keep track of law abiding owners? Remove that from the agenda and you would most likely get a national check passed

    July 2, 2013 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  15. textee

    Stand up and fight the convicted felon lobby (aka the Democrat party) and ban voting by convicted felons forever! Convicted felons do more deadly damage to this country with their votes for Democrats than they do with their other crimes.

    July 2, 2013 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  16. BLE7481

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

    How universally true that is.

    July 2, 2013 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  17. Smitty

    Great, that's all the NRA needs, is another victim crying about background checks.

    July 2, 2013 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  18. censored

    What is wrong with that?

    July 2, 2013 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  19. JC

    Wonder where they get all the money it takes to go around the country so as to promote their agenda!

    He is retired military and she certainly could not have access via her pension to fund all those "tours"!

    Perhaps the anti-gun lobby is funding the whole thing!!

    Just saying!

    July 2, 2013 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  20. HenryMiller

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

    It's not "special interests" that are objecting to more gun laws, it's millions of people like me who simply don't trust the federal government enough to give them any more power over guns. And after the businesses of NSA spying and IRS intimidation, is there anyone out there who believes government doesn't abuse its powers?

    July 2, 2013 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  21. TheWiz71

    @textee – Convicted felons are not allowed to vote, so I don't know where you are getting your "facts" from. As for any one political party being criminal – last I checked it was a GOP POTUS who lied to a joint session of Congress in making his case to invade another nation, and who broke international law in unilaterally invading a member nation of the U.N. However, portraying an opposing political party as "criminal" or as perpetrating "damage to this country" is the sort of thing which makes our national political discourse so toxic, and which itself undermines the unity of the Republic. We can disagree without demonizing. If only we did so we might actually see more being done to work through the issues which confront us.

    July 2, 2013 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  22. Brewgeek

    Problem is all the additional BS they wanted to add to the bill. In essence it would've created a national registry which a lot of gun owners are vehemently opposed to. It also had restrictions on 'assault' type weapons which are functionally the same as many hunting rifles, not military grade as the media would like you to believe. They look bad so we ban them....

    July 2, 2013 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  23. septicrevo

    Joe Heck is a Congressman from the state of Nevada. He hasn't been a Nevada State Senator since 2008...

    July 2, 2013 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  24. idb

    I have no problem with enhanced background checks. However, they don't solve any issues with gun violence. The problem with criminals is that they tend to not obey the law. Another problem is that, existing legislation is not enforced. Before introducing any new legislation that issue will have to fixed first. The same goes for other issues like illegal aliens. First properly enforce existing legislation and then analyze if you still have problems.

    July 2, 2013 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  25. Abe Simpson

    Should Giffords be in possession of that firearm? Would she pass the mental check that they are pushing for? Would a mental care provider be willing to stake their career on her never doing any wrongdoing with a firearm for the rest of her life?

    July 2, 2013 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10