July 2nd, 2013
08:04 AM ET
1 year 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. tom l.

    So based on the excuses people are making about Giffords inability to properly hold a gun, I would think that those excuse makers would be screaming that she should not have a gun. But why would the lefties here ever do something that was not in support of people on their side? The hypocrisy is amazing. This is one person, who for obvious (and unfair) reasons, should NOT own a gun or pass a background check.

    July 2, 2013 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  2. truth hurts but reality

    "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.
    ------–

    Totally untrue and she knows it. Nothing, absolutely NOTHING the Democrats have proposed would keep weapons out of the hands of "the dangerously mentally ill". This would require the release of everybody's mental health records to the government and would a massive invasion of privacy.

    Sadly, the Democrats simply want to exploit these tragedies to push their anti-gun agenda. They will not stop until the Second Amendment is destroyed or repealed.

    July 2, 2013 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  3. Trueliberal9

    how ironic is this.......suprised CNN is even covering this story.

    July 2, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  4. AZDesert

    I respect Giffords. I voted for her when she ran in my district. She was always a moderate democrat, and really was a gun owner a proponent of the 2nd Amendment. She visted ranchers regaularly on the border and is an owner of a Glock pistol.

    What they aren't telling you ight now is that for an expanded background check to even work, you need a federal firearms registration. Without that, the expanded background check does zero to nothing.

    July 2, 2013 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  5. dogslax

    @ bergerfry. So straight up in the air is not pointing the gun in the wrong direction? If she can't operate a firearm properly then she shouldn't be doing it for cameras. Video of her being careless with a firearm and then turning and smiling to the camera is pretty much the opposite of promoting responsible firearm operation.

    July 2, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  6. Mikey

    "We are the 99% and we are well armed, come and take em, we dare you."
    **********************************************************************
    Thank you for the argument in favor of gun control. No guns for crazy people.

    July 2, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  7. justthefaxpleez

    With the new laws, wouldn't her brain damage preclude her from buying a gun? She clearly has motor skill issues. I'm not sure about her faculties but all i've heard her utter was 'you are my sunshine'. I would not feel safe with her owning a hand gun.

    July 2, 2013 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  8. TW

    Does she understand the bill didn't pass due to a huge ban on gun types not background checks right.

    July 2, 2013 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  9. Data Driven

    The gun-nuts: "But, but, background checks will lead to NATIONAL GUN REGISTRATION!"

    Most of the rest of America: "So?"

    And me: "I'm trying to care less ... wait, hang on ... Nope, I just cannot care less."

    July 2, 2013 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  10. Rudy NYC

    truth hurts but reality wrote:

    "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 [Giffords] also said in the column.

    Totally untrue and she knows it. Nothing, absolutely NOTHING the Democrats have proposed would keep weapons out of the hands of "the dangerously mentally ill". This would require the release of everybody's mental health records to the government and would a massive invasion of privacy.

    Sadly, the Democrats simply want to exploit these tragedies to push their anti-gun agenda. They will not stop until the Second Amendment is destroyed or repealed.
    ----------------
    The pro-gun crowd hasn't proposed a solution of any kind. The only solution offered by the pro-gun crowd came directly from the NRA. It was the "Archie Bunker Solution", which says to arm every passenger on an airplane with a gun in order to stop armed hijackers.

    July 2, 2013 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  11. Jesse

    If the new background checks law went into effect.

    270 million firearms already sold would still be able to be sold with no background checks if cash transactions are done.
    Firearms sold after the law went into effect that had their serial numbers removed would still be able to be sold.

    The background check law would only apply to those who choose to follow it. It would not slow down criminals in the least.

    July 2, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  12. AZDesert

    @justthefaxpleez – No. To be denied gun ownership, she would have had to be adjucated mentally ill. Meaning, she would have been forcibly admitted into a mental hospital by law because she was a danger to herself and/or others.

    July 2, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  13. sonny chapman

    George Zimmerman is the perfect model that little, scared men shouldn't have big guns to cover up their insecurities.

    July 2, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  14. tom l.

    @Data Driven,
    You have far too much trust in government. Is it possible that a republican President could take that national registry list and utilize it in some way to get back at democrats?

    July 2, 2013 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  15. AZDesert

    @Data Driven
    The liberals: "But, but, voter ID laws would lead to voter suppression!"

    Most of the rest of America: "So?"

    And me: "I'm trying to care less ... wait, hang on ... Nope, I just cannot care less."

    See what I did there? Just because you make up something doesn't make it true on the internets.

    July 2, 2013 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  16. Fair is Fair

    Data Driven

    The gun-nuts: "But, but, background checks will lead to NATIONAL GUN REGISTRATION!"

    Most of the rest of America: "So?"
    ---------
    Most of the rest of America is too stupid to understand what a national gun registration can – repeat, CAN – lead to.

    July 2, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  17. Mr.Howdydoody

    I view events like this as nothing more than a means of taking a vacation on someone esles dime. She has more brain damage than the doctors thought, if she thinks she can get people in Alaska to agree to more federal control over their lives. Most of the people in Alaska went there to get away from the overreach of the government.

    Rights don't require responsibility. Privilidges do. If they want to say we have resposibility for exercising our rights, then every person that voted for Obama needs to have their voting rights recinded.

    July 2, 2013 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  18. Reddog

    @sonny chapman

    Truth is: "George Zimmerman is the perfect model that" people who are getting their heads bashed into the sidewalk, while their assailant has them pinned on their back and tells them that they are going to die, have every right to shoot their attacker.

    July 2, 2013 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  19. Data Driven

    @AZDesert,

    I made up something? So 2nd Amendment fantasists aren't worried about a national gun registry? Fine, but tell it to the hyperventilators here.

    July 2, 2013 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  20. chet

    A national registration of individuals who should not possess guns is all that is needed. The look up done by FFL dealers would prohibit these from buying guns. We do not need a firearms registration as the ones who have them illegally wouldn't register them anyway. If you want people who shouldn't have gun not to have them – you'll forever be hard pressed to make that work – EVER!

    July 2, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  21. PaulG

    @ Rudy NYC "60% of guns sold in this country are sold without background checks"
    That statement is a blatant lie. As to your other statements of non-sense, it takes a judicial proceeding to lose a constitutional right, not the whim of some political appointee who hates guns and only thinks the government or the rich should own or have access to firearms.

    July 2, 2013 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  22. Rudy NYC

    tom l.

    @Data Driven,
    You have far too much trust in government. Is it possible that a republican President could take that national registry list and utilize it in some way to get back at democrats?
    --------------------------
    Get back at Democrats? Nah. Unlike Republicans, the majority of Democrats probably don't own a gun.

    July 2, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  23. Mr.Howdydoody

    Rudy NYC – Why does the Pro-Gun crowd need to say anything about keeping a Right? It is an important right that we all posses. If you don't want to excersise it, that is your choice, but don't take it away from the rest of us. You are lying to yourself and everyone else if you think that gun registration/background checks will stop anything. Criminals, by their very definition don't follow the laws. If they can't buy guns, they will steal them. In order to steal them, they will put more people at risk than any gun laws would ever protect.

    July 2, 2013 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  24. Eric

    We need to continue this fight for responsible gun control measures. Thankfully she is not fading into the history books and is willing to be the face of gun control.

    She is continuing the incremental fight to rid us of the scourge of gun violence. Lets start with background checks and continue this fight. Frankly only the Police and Military should have these instruments of death. There is not reason in this day and age to own a gun. Its no longer the wild west.

    At least we should know who has them sop that if flagged they can be taken away.

    July 2, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  25. rs

    The GOP clings to a 1996 voter initiative in California as proof America doesn't want Gay Marriage, but ignores poll after poll with consistent 80% or better approval for gun background checks.

    Does it hurt to be a member of the GOP today? All the stupidity.

    July 2, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
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