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. sfg

    Hey Rudy NYC, I seem to remember a few shootings in NYC recently. There are laws against that.

    What happened?

    July 2, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  2. Joe

    Not good- She should not be photographed shooting a gun. The message should be get rid of them except for law enforcement officials. 99.9% of those who make the lame claim that they have the right to defend themselves, never even get a chance to use it in that type of situation. Instead, it just puts people and kids at risk. Gun folks, time to educate yourselves and do something with your mind not your hands.

    July 2, 2013 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  3. Lynda/Minnesota

    "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."

    This is incorrect and does not applie to all 50 states. Minnesota is one. IF you buy a firearm at a gun show from a DEALER a background check is required. You can, however, purchase a firearm from a non dealer at a gun show, or in the back seat of a car, or in a parking lot, or in your home ... without a background check. It is doubtful that the folks selling their weapons out of the back seat of their vehicles have a great deal of gun ownership responsiblity to begin with. And it is THESE folks who are making it unsafe for those around them. If you don't know who you are selling to, it's a good bet you ought not to be selling to that person to begin with. I doubt my opinion will stop any future back seat sales, though. Just thought I'd throw it out there anyway.

    July 2, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  4. Proud Liberal

    It takes a village to undo what the gun culture in the US does to children. Kids are conditioned toward violence, we need programs to reeducate kids. Its not their fault, its societies for allowing kids to grow up in such a violent surrounding. Government needs to intervene if no one else will.

    If only one life is saved, the second amendment should be repealed.

    July 2, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  5. Thomas

    When I was working in Cambodia in the 90s , this blind ex solder was drunk , and shooting his AK 47 where he thought the moon was in the sky .

    The next day , I was told the man was shooting at a frog who was eating the moon.

    That made total sense to me , and put my mind at ease !

    July 2, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  6. eric

    I think it is very hypocritical of the Giffords to go out and brandish firearms after working so hard to keep us from owning them.

    July 2, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  7. Bill Smells

    @Rudy NYC

    "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."

    --------------------

    Undercover agents (sometimes referred to as sky marshals) carrying concealed firearms sit among the passengers on every international El Al flight. As a prime target for terrorism, El Al employs stringent security procedures, both on the ground and on board its aircraft. These effective, though sometimes controversial, procedures have won El Al's security reputation. In 2008, the airline was named by Global Traveler magazine as the world's most secure airline.

    It works. Stop fearing facts.

    July 2, 2013 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  8. a disgrace

    just stuffing her pockets full of money...

    July 2, 2013 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  9. sirock

    Why don't they enforce the laws they already have? Background checks are already performed and tens of thousands are refused. Many are convicted Felons were talking around 40K but less then forty were prosecuted last year. How about enforcing the laws already on the books.

    July 2, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  10. Steveo

    @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.
    -------------
    Well somebody has to counter YOUR silly arguments! I have seen stats that vary from 30-47% (all reported in 2011 and 2012. That would include 40% of those who are DEMS! So pick the data that best suits your argument!

    July 2, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  11. sirock

    One reason not to have a federal registry maybe As part of a deal signed last week in Washington DC between the Russian Emergency Situations Ministry and FEMA, Russian officials will provide “security at mass events” in the United States, a scenario that won’t sit well with Americans wary of foreign assets operating on US soil. This agreement was signed last week

    July 2, 2013 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  12. Scare The Pilgrims

    Logged onto CNN- In Order I See – 1 ) . "Giffords Shhots Gun Again" – " Childs Body Found in Street " – " Driver Shot Dead While Calling 911" Video- "Pierce Brisnars Daughter Dies"-" "Rodman ; I Should Get Nobe Prize"....Well my wife just went to get her Haircut and wants me to be ready to take her fishing when she gets back. Time to pack the gear and yes, Once again I'm taking OUR Pistols..his & hers. Happy Fourth of July From Scott County, Kentucky , Home of the ToyotaUSA Car Plant.

    July 2, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    Steveo wrote:

    "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."

    Well somebody has to counter YOUR silly arguments! I have seen stats that vary from 30-47% (all reported in 2011 and 2012. That would include 40% of those who are DEMS! So pick the data that best suits your argument!
    -----------------–
    Humor is a lost art form in the right wing. Their idea of humor is a guy talking to an empty chair.

    July 2, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  14. jack

    reeducation? that's what commies do. no amount of govt. interference is going to stop the gun violence here in Baltimore since the crimes are not committed by registered gun owners.

    July 2, 2013 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  15. lmao

    Gun folks, time to educate yourselves and do something with your mind not your hands.
    ---
    Take your own advice. If you educated yourself you would see that guns are way down on the list of things that kill kids in the US. If you were actually about protecting kids from getting killed, you'd be pushing to ban swimming pools and automobiles. But you're just pushing an anti-gun agenda that has little basis in reality.

    July 2, 2013 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  16. lmao

    "If only one life is saved, the second amendment should be repealed."
    -–
    By that logic we should be banning all sorts of things that take lives. Lead the way and be the first to surrender your car and drivers license.

    But like all the proud liberals, you just want to ban the stuff you personally don't like while ignoring all the other stuff out there that takes lives because they are things you like having.

    July 2, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  17. TotallyCrazy

    Not good- She should not be photographed shooting a gun. The message should be get rid of them except for law enforcement officials.
    -----------

    I'll never accept a society where only an elite class of citizen has firearms. I'm sure I am not alone in my feelings on the matter.

    July 2, 2013 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  18. Dougals

    Not only do the private citizen sales skirt the background check at gun shows, but undercover reporters found that many of the dealers will suddenly become private citizens if the perspective buyer doesn't want a check done on them.

    The loopholes are easy to plug, but the excuses against taking that first "reasonable" step is that it will lead to unreasonable steps – a logical fallacy that is sold by the NRA to their mindless drones without a first thought, let alone a second thought.

    July 2, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  19. J.

    Whoever says the Giffords are hypocritical are morons. You don't have to totally oppose the right to bear arms to rightfully support gun control, and more specifically, background checks.

    July 2, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  20. buckeye

    Proud Liberal
    It takes a village to undo what the gun culture in the US does to children. Kids are conditioned toward violence, we need programs to reeducate kids. Its not their fault, its societies for allowing kids to grow up in such a violent surrounding. Government needs to intervene if no one else will.

    If only one life is saved, the second amendment should be repealed.
    ________________________________________________________________________________________

    So I guess if one life is saved, we should repeal the 4th Amendment also. And let's ban all backyard swimming pools, that will certainly save lives. And lower the speed limit to 25 mph everywhere, that will save thousands of lives, guaranteed. And let's profile and put all potential terrorists (males ages 10-70 of a certain religion) in jail, that could save a life.

    I would just LOVE to live in such a "safe" country (not).

    The mentality that the government should take away all our freedoms to make us "safer" is NOT the American way.

    July 2, 2013 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  21. Giffords Supporter

    "Whoever says the Giffords are hypocritical are morons. You don't have to totally oppose the right to bear arms to rightfully support gun control, and more specifically, background checks."

    This is one of the few bi-partisan, logical things I have seen posted in this thread. It's so easy to tell the posters who are blindly partisan, one way or the other.

    July 2, 2013 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  22. Pro-Gun Jeff

    Responsible gun ownership >>>>

    July 2, 2013 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  23. Andy Richter

    To the person who called Giffords a hypocrite for shooting a gun because you think she wants to take your rights away – do you not understand that gun checks is not to prevent lawful and sane people from owning guns but the lawless and unstable? This is not rocket science!

    July 2, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  24. Elliott Carlin

    I'm sorry for what she has gone through and am glad she's doing much better; BUT, this couple is coming across a little creepy, especially the husband-he seems like an opportunist at every turn.

    Whenever someone from the government says "common sense measures", the BS radar goes off. I'm sorry, but these two are untrustworthy on this issue, regardless what they say about the 2nd amendment.

    July 2, 2013 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  25. UncleJohn

    Why wasn't Mr. Gifford prosecuted for attempting a straw purchase of an AR-15?

    July 2, 2013 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
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