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. blank

    wow...how can someone who cant even fire one shot with proper gun safety techniques preach responsible gun ownership. First, terrible grip, she starts to wave the gun around dangerously like some first time know nothing shooter would do, she keeps her finger on the trigger while pointing the gun in the air and finger on the trigger while the guy grabs it so she doesn't kill someone with here irresponsible gun handling. If she wants to preach about firearms then she should at least be able to handle one safely.

    July 2, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  2. wild man

    Let's go over a few facts for the low information anti gun crowd, if you buy a firearm at a gun show you go throug a back ground check if you buy a firearm off a website it's sent to a person who has a federal firearms license and then they run a back ground check on you. the only way to obtain a firearm withous a back ground check is to either obtain one illegally or buy one through a private sale. a private sale is one in witch a citizen who legally owns a firearm sells it to another citizen. and the government trying to stop private sales of anything violates your property rights.

    July 2, 2013 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  3. Ryan

    This is embarrassing. Come on, journalists. Nevada's Senators are Sen. Dean Heller and Sen. Harry Reid. They have a Congressman/Representative Joe Heck, but not a Senator. Just because Google shows he was once a State Senator does not mean he currently is a national Senator.

    July 2, 2013 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  4. TheThinker

    Why don't these "gun control" campaigns ever offer a carrot? The media spin can be terrifying, with a "Government knows better than you", "gun owners are irrational" tone.
    Why not throw us a bone? Something like "pass a psych exam and you can legally own a machine gun"? I can't imagine any of the "individuals" responsible for mass shootings would last ten seconds in front of a psychiatrist.

    p.s. I'm super glad that rep Gifford has recovered and I wish her the best.

    July 2, 2013 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    Jason

    The legislation that was offered will not make it harder for criminals to get guns, only for law abiding citizens to get guns. It makes it harder for family and friends to sell or trade guns. It is a fact that most violent gun crime in the US happens in areas with the toughest (most restrictive) gun laws. They
    -------------------------–
    It is a fact that most violent gun crime happens in areas with the most restrictive gun laws. It is also a fact that almost all of the weapons used in those same violent gun crimes originate from areas with the least restrictive gun laws.

    July 2, 2013 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  6. roger bridges

    I get this sick feeling every time I see this woman, she almost gave her life for the freedoms we all take for granted in this country. She deserves her privacy she appears to be only doing what and when she is told , if her husband loves her more than the spotlight he will keep her safe and out of the public view c'mon man

    July 2, 2013 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  7. Joe

    I think we should take their gun rights away like they want to do to me. If I, a law abiding citizen go to a shooting range and safely fire a gun I get demonized but when she does so in an unsafe manner so unsafe the firearms instructor had to grab the gun she is a saint.

    July 2, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  8. Dog-and-Pony Show

    While I can appreciate what she and Mark have given to this nation but I can not condone this continued dog and pony show they insist on doing. Several have already said it – if you buy a gun at a gun store you go through a background check – if you buy a gun at a booth at the gun show you go through a background check, if you buy a gun online they will only ship it to a FFL Dealer near you and when you pick up the gun you go through a background check. The only issue I have are the dealers at the gun shows that don't want to do background checks so they meet up with people in the parking lots and "private" sale the gun but criminalizing private firearm sales/transfers is not the answer.

    July 2, 2013 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  9. Rudy NYC

    Joe

    I think we should take their gun rights away like they want to do to me. If I, a law abiding citizen go to a shooting range and safely fire a gun I get demonized but when she does so in an unsafe manner so unsafe the firearms instructor had to grab the gun she is a saint.
    ------------------–
    Psst, the only people demonizing you are your fellow 2A advocates. In fact, if you think Giffords should not be operating a firearm, which I don't think she should do, then why object to the recent gun legislation. It defined some limits on what people with histories of mental health issues can do. I'm not sure if brain injury qualifies, though.

    July 2, 2013 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  10. Fair is Fair

    Rudy NYC

    Jason

    The legislation that was offered will not make it harder for criminals to get guns, only for law abiding citizens to get guns. It makes it harder for family and friends to sell or trade guns. It is a fact that most violent gun crime in the US happens in areas with the toughest (most restrictive) gun laws. They
    ---------–
    It is a fact that most violent gun crime happens in areas with the most restrictive gun laws. It is also a fact that almost all of the weapons used in those same violent gun crimes originate from areas with the least restrictive gun laws.
    ------
    Are you making the point that no matter how tough the gun laws are, guns are going to show up anyway... and mostly by the criminal element? Because, you know, that's exactly what we've been saying all along...

    July 2, 2013 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    wild man

    Let's go over a few facts for the low information anti gun crowd, if you buy a firearm at a gun show you go throug a back ground check if you buy a firearm off a website it's sent to a person who has a federal firearms license and then they run a back ground check on you. the only way to obtain a firearm withous a back ground check is to either obtain one illegally or buy one through a private sale. a private sale is one in witch a citizen who legally owns a firearm sells it to another citizen. and the government trying to stop private sales of anything violates your property rights
    --------------------------–
    Private sales are made at gun shows on a regular basis. I cannot speak on the internet. Did you know that your desire to permit unrestricted private sales is THE reason why there are no federal laws against gun trafficking? None.

    July 2, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  12. chiavarm

    In addition to wild man's comment.

    It will not stop the private citizen from selling the gun with out a background check. Just the woman who was a straw buyer for the criminal that shot he fire fighters. It did not prevent her from lying on the form stating she was buying them for her personal use. It just allows the state to prosecute her after the fact. See, making something illegal does not prevent squat. MURDER IS ILLEGAL. Does that law prevent murder???

    Wake up America.

    July 2, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  13. championsleaguer

    Very brave of her to handle and use a firearm after being attacked so viciously.

    July 2, 2013 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  14. Chris

    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.
    _________________________
    and thousands have died from car crashes, smoking, over wieght, etc. Should we start banning cars, smoking, food, etc. You get the point, the government can not save everyone all the time so get over it!!!

    July 2, 2013 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  15. Tim Williams

    Responsible solutions would include giving people responsibility...no? My solution would be to allow everyone who owns a firearm the option to carry it concealed, no permit required. You could carry it anywhere, unless a facility had detectors to prevent you. All Americans 18+ could own any firearm, including automatic, if they pass a background check. Beef up the background check information and educate the purchaser that if they don't secure their weapon or report it stolen and it gets used in a crime, they will no longer be able to pass a background check unless certain requirements are met. Put the burden on the purchaser to secure their weapons as they should be, to train themselves to handle them correctly, as they should already desire to do, but don't prevent Americans from owning any firearm. If we desire to require some mutually agreed upon education before first purchase, then ok, but once again, no limit should be placed on Americans unless an individual commits a felony crime or allows their firearms to slip from their posession through neglect.

    July 2, 2013 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  16. Chris

    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.
    ______________
    I see, but that inflates the number drastically so it really is not 60% then, those should not be counted.

    July 2, 2013 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  17. Joe in Kalispell

    I think using Diane Frankenstein's yardstick Giffords shouldn't be allowed to own a gun. She's mentally and physically disabled.

    July 2, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  18. Rudy NYC

    anonymous wrote:

    yeah, that poor soldier that was beheaded on the streets on london by a muslim radical was sure glad he lived in an civilized unarmed country.
    ----------------------
    I guess the significance of the fact that he was beheaded escapes you. In this country, those same radicals probably would have gone on a shooting rampage.

    July 2, 2013 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  19. tomnikoly

    Hair of the dog....

    Go figure.

    July 2, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  20. Liberal VD

    Somebody with half a brain shouldn't be allowed to have a fire arm. That goes for all liberals.

    July 2, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  21. Steveo

    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.
    --------
    Another "PROBABLY" argument? Really? I am sure you have the stats and data to back that up?

    July 2, 2013 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  22. Rudy NYC

    Chris wrote:

    "The NRA reported that figure. It's a high number due to the high volume of illegal guns being sold to criminals."

    I see, but that inflates the number drastically so it really is not 60% then, those should not be counted.
    ------------------
    Should not be counted? That's funny. How right wing of you.

    The NRA reported those numbers over a decade ago, back when they actively supported background checks.

    July 2, 2013 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  23. Joe Hates Government

    Just another whack job, nothing to see nor read here.

    July 2, 2013 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  24. Liberalism is a brain disease

    Rudy NYC
    The NRA reported those numbers over a decade ago, back when they actively supported background checks.
    ---

    Thanks for those real up to date "facts" Rudy.... You're a wealth of old and outdated "facts".

    July 2, 2013 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  25. Rudy NYC

    Steveo

    Another "PROBABLY" argument? Really? I am sure you have the stats and data to back that up?
    ------------------
    You must like making silly arguments. I responding to a ridiculous and hypothetical scenario with satire, something seems to elude so many on the right. Go visit the NRA. They'll be quick to tell you that only about 30% of households own a gun, and that most of those households are in red states.

    July 2, 2013 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
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