Giffords on gun control: 'We'll persist'
January 8th, 2014
08:27 AM ET
7 months ago

Giffords on gun control: 'We'll persist'

(CNN) – Three years to the day that she was critically wounded in a mass shooting that left six dead, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords called for persistence in the fight for gun control, and revealed for the first time that she now has movement in her right arm.

In an opinion piece Wednesday for the New York Times, the Democrat from Arizona described the daily "gritty, painful, frustrating work" of rehab and compares it to her mission to strengthen gun laws, saying "our fight is a lot more like my rehab. Every day, we must wake up resolved and determined. We'll pay attention to the details; look for opportunities for progress, even when the pace is slow."

Giffords described the disappointment in Congress for failing to pass gun control measures in the aftermath of the December 2012 shootings at a Connecticut elementary school that left 20 young children dead, writing that "Washington disappointed us during the first year of our work with the organization we began, Americans for Responsible Solutions. Many of you were outraged at the failure of the Senate to pass the background checks bill, and so was I."

But Giffords, who along with her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, have become leading advocates for gun control, also sounded optimistic. And she touted a recent high profile electoral victory this past November for a candidate who supported gun control, saying "we can get tough and win elections. We'll support our allies. And those who stood in the way will face a powerful advocacy community standing between them and re-election. I know that after the next elections, candidates won't wonder if common-sense gun policies can win elections; trust me, like Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe of Virginia, they'll know that the answer is yes."

On a personal note, Giffords revealed the slow progress she's made with her rehab.

"This past year, I have achieved something big that I've not spoken of until now. Countless hours of physical therapy – and the talents of the medical community – have brought me new movement in my right arm. It's fractional progress, and it took a long time, but my arm moves when I tell it to. Three years ago, I did not imagine my arm would move again. For so many days, it did not. I did exercise after exercise, day after day, until it did," she said.

Giffords and her husband marked the third anniversary of the shooting by skydiving.

Giffords was first elected to Congress in 2006. She stepped down from her seat one year after suffering a severe head wound in the shooting, which took place as she was meeting with constituents at a supermarket near her hometown of Tucson.

CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this story.


Filed under: Gabrielle Giffords • Gun control • Gun rights • Mark Kelly
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. TJ McNamara

    Gun control means using both hands.

    January 8, 2014 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  2. Rudy NYC

    Keep fighting for what is good, Gabby. You're not alone. The day will come when you will raise your right fist in victory.

    January 8, 2014 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  3. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    The fight is not over. Our resolve has not diminished.

    January 8, 2014 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  4. AZTea

    Keep the fight going Gabby, each and every two bit thug in every major city is supporting your cause to disarm it's citizens. You go girl!!

    January 8, 2014 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  5. Dutch Cassidy

    Of course you'll persist, like a tick. Like Shannon Watts of Mom Demands Action. You will pursue Universal Background Checks even though only 2% of criminals get guns from gun shows. You'll persist in banning rifles because they have a pistol grip and look like military weapons. You'll promote Fear and death for your agenda. You'll silence others who don't agree with your agenda.

    January 8, 2014 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  6. M Star

    Talking, in detail, about your therapy and recovery is irrelevant when discussing the failed 2013 gun legislation. Though I may feel bad for you, it will not sway me into agreeing to having my medical records and what guns I own disclosed to the government. There's enough privacy concerns already with the NSA leak. My privacy outweighs your agenda. PERIOD.

    January 8, 2014 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  7. rs

    Dutch Cassidy

    Of course you'll persist, like a tick. Like Shannon Watts of Mom Demands Action. You will pursue Universal Background Checks even though only 2% of criminals get guns from gun shows. You'll persist in banning rifles because they have a pistol grip and look like military weapons. You'll promote Fear and death for your agenda. You'll silence others who don't agree with your agenda.
    _________________________________________
    As long as there are people like you who think the system "works" whan a crazy man can stroll into his local Walmart, buy weapons and ammo and shoot a sitting member of the U.S. House of Represntatives at a public forum, and kill 9 people, then I think the problem becomes quite evident. I live in Arizona. The state that sold the guns tracked in Fast and Furious to straw buyers; the state where Ms. Giffords was shot; the state where there are guns shows every single weekend and where no background checks are done; the state where there are daily shootings on the street, in the mall, between citizens and on the roads; where police are shot and killed at a higher than national rate.
    The gun worshiping culture is a very sick and dangerous one- and one that will ultimately kill the 2nd Amendment if it does not get checked.

    January 8, 2014 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  8. alex

    RS – The gun worshiping culture is a very sick and dangerous one- and one that will ultimately kill the 2nd Amendment if it does not get checked.

    Truer words have never been written. I come from a family of gun owners, and my dad always said the NRA was the biggest threat to the 2nd amendment. I see now as an adult that he is absolutely right. They have no interest in protecting our 2nd amendment rights and have only done harm to this country and our democracy (e.g. stopping legitimate public health studies on gun violence from getting funded). All they care about is getting as many guns and bullets into as many hands as possible; they are a pimp for gun manufacturers, nothing more. The 2nd amendment was created to protect our democracy – the NRA lobbyists have only harmed our democracy and put the public welfare of Americans at risk.

    January 8, 2014 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  9. GOP = Greed Over People

    Ms. Giffords, you are deluding yourself.

    If the slaughter of 22 innocent first and second graders did not spur this country to action, nothing will.

    A very sad commentary on this country.

    January 8, 2014 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  10. PaulG

    "Common-sense" gun policies from the likes of cuomo, bloomturd, feinstein, schumer do not exist. These people want only one thing, to disarm everyone but them and their personal security detail. Unfortunately giffords and her goofball husband are being used.
    How about instead of gun control that only affects those inclined to follow the law, we enforce some criminal control on those that shouldn't have firearms anyway.
    Enough of this liberal anti-gun agenda, stand and fight.

    January 8, 2014 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  11. Rick McDaniel

    That persistence is not warranted by the facts.........it is simply political.

    The truth is, Giffords was injured by a mentally ill person.........because there is NO SYSTEM to prevent them from buying guns.

    January 8, 2014 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  12. king

    s claiming that pushing more guns in this country is the best way to go,and on the other hand claiming that people dont kill peopleIkIt doesn't make sense for millions and millions of guns to be pouring into States cities and neighborhoods like this. What can you do when some one holds a gun to your head, or do you have to have a bazooka in your house if someone breaks in. Can a license 45 do.

    January 8, 2014 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  13. jlsry

    Rs:”The state that sold the guns tracked in Fast and Furious to straw buyers; the state where Ms. Giffords was shot; the state where there are guns shows every single weekend and where no background checks are done; the state where there are daily shootings on the street, in the mall, between citizens and on the roads; where police are shot and killed at a higher than national rate."

    Problem is that most of your claims are lies. I mean you cite to fast and furious which was a government operation, the gun store would have to refuse to sell the guns but the administration told them to anyways. Fast and furious was a gun control inspired operation.

    Also there are not gun shows every weekend. That's a lie. And when there are gun shows federal law requires all dealers at the show to do background checks. Even so, guns from private sales only show up in 2‰ of crimes according to the BJS crime statistics.

    Further, the only places where there are daily shooting is Chicago. Not Arizona, there are many murders in Arizona with many weapons but not daily street shootings. That's another lie. And the last one, in the entire country it is extremely rare that police are killed, lowest rate in a century in 2013, same is true for arizona. Of course, every officer carries a gun to enhance there safety so that certainly helps.

    By the way, laughner used a handgun in the shooting. Walmart does not sell handguns, they only selling hunting equipment with a background check. So there is another lie.

    Like a typical gun prohibitionist you are full of lies, do not know the facts and operate under fear and emotion.

    January 8, 2014 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  14. The Real Tom Paine

    Wow. The selfishness, hatred and paranoia of the gun-huggers comes on full display any time someone who has the audacity to say that their fetish contributes to the culture of violance that they accept like a new breakfast cereal. What this comes down to is an out-of control narcissism that masquearades as freedom. Most gun owners are careful, law-abiding people who shoot because its fun: its the loony fringe that grafts a rights to self-defense onto their own psychotic hoarding behavior and lets it mushroom into threats of violance and sedition.

    January 8, 2014 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  15. S.B. Stein

    We need prosecutors to be able to use the existing laws better. The threshold for conviction on the current weapons laws should be lowered so that more convictions can be made. There also needs to be greater information made into the database to prevent weapons being sold to those that shouldn't have them.

    January 8, 2014 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  16. current state of the union

    Paul, I must have missed the part where they plan on taking your guns, you fools just don't see how pathetic you truly are

    January 8, 2014 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  17. rs

    PaulG

    "Common-sense" gun policies from the likes of cuomo, bloomturd, feinstein, schumer do not exist. These people want only one thing, to disarm everyone but them and their personal security detail. Unfortunately giffords and her goofball husband are being used.
    How about instead of gun control that only affects those inclined to follow the law, we enforce some criminal control on those that shouldn't have firearms anyway.
    Enough of this liberal anti-gun agenda, stand and fight.
    _____________________
    When you open your post with a lie- everything else that follows is value-less.
    No one, repeat, no one wants to disarm Americans. No such law has been proposes nor is one under consideration (although to hear weird Wayne, the NRA and the GOP tell it, you might thinks so).
    No, my friend- 90 % of America wants something done- the focus now is on responsible gun sales, and ensurng criminals and the insane cannot gain access to weapons. This is neither a "libera" or a "conservative" thing (as polling demonstrates). It is about preserving public safety and about ensuring the 2nd Amendment survives- because at the current rate of burn, people are turning against the gun nuts of the NRA. The NRA coulf be the vector that kills Americans' gun rights, not the "liberals".

    January 8, 2014 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  18. Silence DoGood

    NRA says gun restrictions won't stop gun violence. But "good guys with guns" stopping the violence is not working either, is it? We need reasonable restrictions and strong law enforcement for gun accidents which happen way more than the "hero" defending the home.

    January 8, 2014 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  19. Rudy NYC

    Dutch Cassidy wrote:

    Of course you'll persist, like a tick. Like Shannon Watts of Mom Demands Action. You will pursue Universal Background Checks even though only 2% of criminals get guns from gun shows.
    ------------------------
    The other 98% obtain their weapons from "law abiding citizens" who legally purchased the weapons.

    Let's face the facts. The right wing's "criminals" are getting their guns from somewhere. But, where?

    1 – Criminals walk into a gun shop, or a gun show, and make a legal purchase.
    2 – Criminals walk into a gun shop, or a gun show, and make an illegal purchase.
    3 – Criminals buy their guns on the street from a gun trafficker.

    Scenarios #1 and #2 seem considerably less likely than scenario #3. In fact, scenario #3 is the method most often suggested by 2nd Amendment enthusiasts, so let's run with it. This begs the question, where are the traffickers obtaining their weapons. They are most likely using any of the above scenarios, with #1 being the most likely. In other words, every weapon on the black market began life as a legal purchase by a "law abiding citizen" from another "law abiding citizen" that operatesa a gun shop.

    January 8, 2014 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  20. BSH

    Why can't we have REASON-based gun control? Let's only pass a law if there's solid evidence that doing so will save lives. That means no "assault" weapons ban, no magazine limits, no restrictions on ammunition. Why can't government fight crime, instead of trying to criminalize the law-abiding? What kind of sense does that make?

    January 8, 2014 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  21. rs

    Problem is that most of your claims are lies. I mean you cite to fast and furious which was a government operation, the gun store would have to refuse to sell the guns but the administration told them to anyways. Fast and furious was a gun control inspired operation.

    Also there are not gun shows every weekend. That's a lie. And when there are gun shows federal law requires all dealers at the show to do background checks. Even so, guns from private sales only show up in 2‰ of crimes according to the BJS crime statistics.

    Further, the only places where there are daily shooting is Chicago. Not Arizona, there are many murders in Arizona with many weapons but not daily street shootings. That's another lie. And the last one, in the entire country it is extremely rare that police are killed, lowest rate in a century in 2013, same is true for arizona. Of course, every officer carries a gun to enhance there safety so that certainly helps.

    By the way, laughner used a handgun in the shooting. Walmart does not sell handguns, they only selling hunting equipment with a background check. So there is another lie.

    As far as shootings- watch our news lately? 12 shootings in Phoenix alone since Christnmas.

    Lastly, yes Laughner used a pistol- but he did buy a rifle, and a shotgun and ammo at Walmart. All legally. You have to admit- that isn't right!
    __________________________
    Sorry, son, the truth is the truth-
    F & F- the BATF did not "tell" a gun store to sell guns illegally. In Arizona, the straw buyer met all of the state laws on gun sales. There are no limits on the number of guns one person can buy- and all the straw buyer would have to do is move to another (of the all too plentiful) gun shops.

    Sorry, in AZ, there are not background checks at private sales at gun shows. Check the papers- there are gun shows virtually every single weekend across our state.

    January 8, 2014 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  22. rs

    Rick McDaniel

    That persistence is not warranted by the facts.........it is simply political.

    The truth is, Giffords was injured by a mentally ill person.........because there is NO SYSTEM to prevent them from buying guns.
    ______________________
    Thanks for figuring that out. That is what America is trying fix.

    January 8, 2014 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  23. Sniffit

    D-mn straight, Gabby. NO QUARTER.

    January 8, 2014 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  24. jackmeirod

    I believe she is sincere and honestly believes that the laws she is pushing for will make society safer. It is quite amazing that an apparently intelligent woman can be so mislead. I'm sure that after the horrific attack she suffered she and her husband area looking for answers and just "want to do something." But advocating for some amorphous, undefined "gun control" is meaningless and the specific measures she supports - background checks on private sales - will do little or nothing to make our country safer. A miniscule number of guns used in crimes are obtained through private sales, and even if her background check proposal passes criminals will still get guns and will continue to commit crimes. Her time and energy would be much better spent in seeking better screening and treatment of mental illness, which was the immediate, proximate cause of the attack on her and the others three years ago.

    January 8, 2014 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  25. rs

    Silence DoGood

    NRA says gun restrictions won't stop gun violence. But "good guys with guns" stopping the violence is not working either, is it? We need reasonable restrictions and strong law enforcement for gun accidents which happen way more than the "hero" defending the home.
    _______________
    Or people discharging firearms in a mall because they thought they saw a gun.

    January 8, 2014 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
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