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. Laughing

    Loughner passed a background check.

    July 2, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  2. yeahright

    Patriot

    Why is she shooting one-handed? Who is she, John Wayne? That's reckless. Glad her husband lowered her pistol too, not sure where she was about to point it. He obviously shoots a lot. She does not. But they got their PR moment.

    --

    You'are kidding right? Get with current events. She has very little use of one arm as a result of being shot in the head. Your comment is ignorant, insensitive and out of line. But you got your PR moment.

    July 2, 2013 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  3. OK

    Additionally, just about every shooter is a registered Democrat, or worked for a Democrat politician. Pretty alarming statistics.
    -----–

    Care to provide some proof for that. I though Democrats don't own guns, shoot guns, like guns. Can't have it both ways.

    July 2, 2013 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  4. buckeye

    They claim to be supporters of the 2nd Amendment, but have they ever met a gun control law that they didn't like? In addition to the background checks that will give the federal government control over every gun transaction, Mr. Kelly and Ms. Giffords supported the assault weapons ban and the high-capacity magazine ban. Part of my 2nd Amendment right is to choose my own firearm and decide for myself how many rounds of ammo I want in my firearm. Can I tell them what guns they are "allowed" to have based my my emotions that particular day? If they truly "support" the 2nd Amendment, they are very misguided.

    July 2, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  5. Steven

    There should be a gun registry for the entire country. Every weapon should be serialized and recorded, and kept in a database with the owners information and their background check info.

    July 2, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  6. Proud Liberal

    The second amendment is outdated. We will continue to chip away at it until its repealed. Look to England for the model of the civilized society in this regard.

    July 2, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  7. Kev

    Good luck pushing the anti-gun agenda in Alaska. It's practically a different country up there... more American.

    July 2, 2013 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  8. bostontola

    Rights and Responsibilities, makes sense, that's why it probably won't get anywhere.

    July 2, 2013 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  9. brianlbaker

    Background checks are an excellent idea. Liability insurance should also be required of all legitimate gun sellers and owners. Then, strict liablity laws should be enacted making anyone who sells, in any form, or has stolen, a gun, used in the commission of a crime, liable for damages. Not having the liability insurance and owning a gun, would be a felony as well. This would start to control all sales, cash or credit, and give an incentive to gun owners to secure their guns from theft.

    In addition, gun manufacturers should be required to put matching serial numbers on every gun piece, and use high tech processes to embed serial numbers that cannot be removed – similar to VIN numbers.

    This would make the removal of serial numbers far more difficult, if not impossible. It would also enable the track back required to activate the Liability clauses and Insurance.

    Simple and effective, and it doesn't interfere with the 2nd Amendment.

    July 2, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  10. Fedup1962

    They should have put her in a "Hogan's Alley" scenario, where she has to purchase a gun from a friend, then hit 11 bad guys with a 10 round magazine. Maybe then she would realize how misguided her high capacity magazine, and over reaching back ground check schemes affect the average law abiding person, who can't depend on police to protect themselves and their family.

    July 2, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  11. PeterD

    Hypocrisy has no limits and no boundaries.

    July 2, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  12. rs

    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.
    ___________________________
    Come to Arizona- it's common practice to buy guns at gun shows, no questions asked. Shoot, guns are common garage sale items...

    July 2, 2013 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  13. rs

    They claim to be supporters of the 2nd Amendment, but have they ever met a gun control law that they didn't like? In addition to the background checks that will give the federal government control over every gun transaction, Mr. Kelly and Ms. Giffords supported the assault weapons ban and the high-capacity magazine ban. Part of my 2nd Amendment right is to choose my own firearm and decide for myself how many rounds of ammo I want in my firearm. Can I tell them what guns they are "allowed" to have based my my emotions that particular day? If they truly "support" the 2nd Amendment, they are very misguided.
    ____________________________
    And in the meanwhile, 6,000 Americans have died because of guns since December- more than in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Freedom, in this case may be hazardous to your health or those around you.

    July 2, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  14. Fair is Fair

    Steven

    There should be a gun registry for the entire country. Every weapon should be serialized and recorded, and kept in a database with the owners information and their background check info.
    --------
    You forgot to credit the source of this statement – it was Adolph Hitler, circa. 1933.

    July 2, 2013 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  15. Nik without a C

    I agree the Second Amendment is confusing to us Average Americans who don't like guns. We see enough violence everyday. New town, Auroa, Colorodo, Oak Creek every one forgets, let me make my self clear. No Guns Period. Must have Registry. I want people to be saved, not killed. For the NRA Enough. I can be a non violent person, like Ghandi. He was the one who got things done with out guns. We should all be like Ghandi.

    July 2, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  16. Rudy NYC

    Ray

    For the umteenth time, i really don't think it is the background check that bothers most of us. If someone introduced a bill that simply said, "all firearm buy/ sell/ transfer transactions ,EXCEPT THOSE BETWEEN FAMILY MEMBERS,will be subject to the EXISTING background check system"
    -----------------
    The honor system does not work. Too many bad apples amongst the "law abiding citizens" out there.

    =======================================

    Zondar wrote:

    Rudy – Keep up, ok? The point is that you retain your RIGHTS until you do something to lose them.
    -----------------------
    And what rights are you losing? If you cannot pass a background check, then apparently you've already done something.

    July 2, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  17. Fair is Fair

    brianlbaker

    Background checks are an excellent idea. Liability insurance should also be required of all legitimate gun sellers and owners. Then, strict liablity laws should be enacted making anyone who sells, in any form, or has stolen, a gun, used in the commission of a crime, liable for damages. Not having the liability insurance and owning a gun, would be a felony as well. This would start to control all sales, cash or credit, and give an incentive to gun owners to secure their guns from theft.

    In addition, gun manufacturers should be required to put matching serial numbers on every gun piece, and use high tech processes to embed serial numbers that cannot be removed – similar to VIN numbers.

    This would make the removal of serial numbers far more difficult, if not impossible. It would also enable the track back required to activate the Liability clauses and Insurance.

    Simple and effective, and it doesn't interfere with the 2nd Amendment.
    --------
    All this, huh? And I'll bet you don't feel it's necessary to show an ID to vote, right?

    July 2, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  18. Chris

    Rudy NYC

    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.
    ------–
    60% of guns sold in this country are sold without background checks. People with a history of mental illness can pass a background check. Violent offenders can pass a background check. People on the "do not fly" list can pass a background check. Currently, there is no federal law against gun trafficking.

    Here's my favorite. If local police arrest someone who appears to be trafficking weapons, not only can they not run a background check, but they must return the confiscated weapons to the suspect.
    _______________________________

    Provide your source (credible please) for the 60% figure cause I would be the farm that is way UNDER stated!!! Background checks are done on the majority of gun sales, even at gun shows, YES even at gun shows back ground checks are done, I have purchased numerous guns at gun shows and a check was done on every one!!!!

    July 2, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  19. Zondar

    Rudy – so you're OK if we enact legislation requiring

    1) Background checks before you can speak in public
    2) Requiring training on "safe" speech before you are allowed to email others
    3) A mental health exam and certification from a psychologist before you can post on Youtube

    As you said, "If you cannot pass a background check, then apparently you've already done something." – so you're obviously OK with this approach for the 1st Amendment as well, right?

    July 2, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    Chris wrote:

    Provide your source (credible please) for the 60% figure cause I would be the farm that is way UNDER stated!!! Background checks are done on the majority of gun sales, even at gun shows, YES even at gun shows back ground checks are done, I have purchased numerous guns at gun shows and a check was done on every one!!!!
    ------------------
    The NRA reported that figure. It's a high number due to the high volume of illegal guns being sold to criminals.

    July 2, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  21. Smart Potato

    Good girl. Had she been armed the FIRST time...

    July 2, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  22. Nelson

    @BrainBaked – What is liability insurance going to do? Car Insurance or no Car Insurance has not deterred drunks from getting behind the wheel. Do you think criminals or crazies will make sure their insurance policy is up to date?

    July 2, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  23. wb

    I hope she enjoyed shooting her gun, but holding this dog and pony show for the media's benefit doesn't give her or her puppeteer husband any special credibility. The gun control debate is over. Background checks don't work, the nut who shot her passed one for God's sake. They are a burden and a tax on legal gun owners.

    July 2, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  24. common sense

    "With great power comes great responsibility." I support uniform sales and ownership laws. I simply cannot understand why background checks scare "law abiding citizens". That's weak, really weak. Every single road vehicle in this country is licenced and drivers must always have documentation ready. The power to kill and substantially wound (the very purpose of firearm use) should be similarly licensed and documented and perhaps even a "driver's test" every 10 years showing safety and operation knowledge would be prudent.

    Should a partially paralyzed, brain damaged gun owner be allowed to shoot a gun? No disrespect, Ms. Giffords, but you may also now fall into the category of unsafe to shoot a gun on your own.

    July 2, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  25. Rudy NYC

    Fair is Fair wrote:

    You forgot to credit the source of this statement – it was Adolph Hitler, circa. 1933.
    ------------------
    Hitler imposed severe restrictions on Jews. Hitler's Germany had little to no restrictions on gun ownership by members of the supreme race.

    July 2, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
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