July 2nd, 2013
08:04 AM ET
8 years 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.

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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. jamac

    What does it take for these people to learn a lesson about guns?

    July 2, 2013 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  2. johnnyseven

    No one from the gun owners is balking about background checks, it's all the other additional, do-nothing bs that's added onto the bill. The bill is more than background checks, read it!

    July 2, 2013 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  3. Obumba

    textee some states you can vote. VA is looking to change that law for non violent offenders. Even in the state of CA a convicted felon can own firearms after a certain amount of time. Depending on what the court says.

    July 2, 2013 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  4. Mark

    0:08 she almost points the gun at herself or others... talk about gun danger. The guy had to grab the gun and help her put it down to stop her from shooting herself or others. Completely reckless, at least she got her footage and is fulfilling her agenda.

    July 2, 2013 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  5. Steven CaboWabo

    What is the major point of background checks if in the majority of cases authorities don't investigate the source of guns that people obtained and prosecute them?

    July 2, 2013 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  6. Bill Smells

    This is just PR fluff, very much like the white house releasing a photo of Obama shooting a gun. Their real agenda is gun control, which the citizens of this country are against.

    July 2, 2013 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  7. Aloha

    So how many more times will you notify us CNN?

    July 2, 2013 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  8. Mike

    I think Mark and Gabby's hearts are in the right place. The issue is that for all their efforts to expand background checks, the gun that injured Gabby was bought by Jared Lee Loughner at a Sportman's Warehouse – a retail store that MUST perform background checks. The guns used at Sandy Hook Elementary were bought at retail by Lanza's mom, who he then murdered and stole her guns. The guns used in the theater shooting in Aurora, CO were bought at a retail outlet where a background check MUST be performend. Why the insistence at expanded background checks for personal gun sales, when so many guns in these massacres were bought at retail outlets, and these sick individuals happily bought whatever gun and ammo they wanted – how about ENHANCED background checks?? Why expand a broken system right now? Because the current background checks don't mean squat if crazy people keep buying guns and shooting up places!

    July 2, 2013 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  9. 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.

    July 2, 2013 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  10. Jeb

    The rabid nature of the effort by the left to disarm private citizens in the country pretty much ensures that gun owners must oppose every piece of gun control legislation no matter its merits. The camel can't get its nose under the tent. This is the first fight by the left in a long war that they see as ending with with US having gun laws like the UK or Australia. You don't let the enemy win battles even when they seem small lest the enemy becomes empowered in their own eyes and the eyes of the public. If democrats like the former congresswoman are serious about 'common sense' gun regulations like the background checks, they should distance themselves from Obama, Bloomberg, Feinstein and the other rabid left-wingers and disavow their tactics.

    July 2, 2013 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  11. SanDiegoWatch

    The Department of Justice already performs a background check, which a buyer pays for, every time a firearm is purchased. The background check checks to see if you can purchase a firearm and must be completed before you can even pick up your firearm.

    What exact purpose will a universal background check serve? (most American't can't even answer this...)

    This background check being pushed will do absolutely nothing in keeping people safe.

    Other than checking to see if you have a criminal background, this second background check will only serve the government for taxation purposes, tracking, and tricking people in believing it will prevent mass shootings, which it won't.

    July 2, 2013 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  12. Derek

    Giffords, like all Americans, is entitled to her opinion. But she & her husband should not lie or deceive the American public. They don't truly believe in the 2d Amend. right to keep & bear arms. Otherwise they would ask for credible evidence from the govt that more gun control is needed, which no gun control proponent has ever provided. The poll that supposedly shows 90% of Americans support background checks was flawed. Most poll respondents may not know that background checks are already required for all gun purchases from gun dealers & the majority of gun purchases are with gun dealers. Only a minority involve private gun sales. NRA did a poll of its 4 million members and the vast majority opposed mandatory background checks on private transactions. Besides the Federal Govt doesn't have the legal power to enforce background checks between residents of the same state. That is the sole purview of state law.

    July 2, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  13. Chris

    The lesson "to be learned" is not about guns, but people. Inner city youths, ganstas, hoodlums, small town punks, should in no way be allowed to have a weapon. If caught with one they should be immediately punished severely. People with mental disorders and people living with people who have mental disorders should not be allowed to have guns. Soldiers who come home with mental disorders should not be allowed to have guns. If this is done (and followed), then senseless killings will decrease. As for the 'normal' American who wants to protect their homes and families they should be allowed to do so.

    July 2, 2013 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  14. kathleen

    She is shooting with one hand because she does not have use of the other hand due to the after effects of her injuries. Maybe you should research before you quickly interpret what you see. Gabby had used firearms for many years. It doesn't
    look reckless, Patriot.

    July 2, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  15. Do Your Homework

    Joe Heck is not a Senator, rather he serves in the House. Americans for Responsible Solutions did not go to Nevada to influence Heck – the organization is there for Senator Dean Heller (R-Nev). As you can see from a recent news story on a different network:
    "Giffords and Kelly said they specifically are hoping to change Sen. Dean Heller’s stance on background checks. Heller in April voted against expanding background checks for all gun purchases."
    Seriously, do your homework Senior Producer Kevin Bohn. It's not that hard to check the facts – it is, after all, an essential part of your job.

    July 2, 2013 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  16. RDH

    Gabby we feel bad that such a terrible thing happened to you but gun control is tyranny and you are a traitor. You may not want to ban guns but most on your side of the argument do. When that happens only the elite ruling and enforcing class will have guns. We are the 99% and we are well armed, come and take em, we dare you.

    July 2, 2013 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  17. jim

    Is that a pistol capable of accepting a "high capacity" magazine?

    July 2, 2013 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  18. just sayin

    thank you democrats for helping rid the red states of those 9 democrat senators. your anti-second amendment attacks will be richly rewarded with the removal of these senators.

    July 2, 2013 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  19. bergerfry

    @ Mark. Were you watching the same video as everyone else? She came nowhere near shooting herself or pointing the gun in the wrong direction. She's learning to do things with her weak hand because she was shot in the head by someone who should never have owned a gun.

    July 2, 2013 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  20. klaus

    I'm not sure someone with a brain injury should have access to a gun. Clearly the laws already in place are failing yet again.

    July 2, 2013 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  21. easai

    Did NRA threaten her? It is painful to look at her holding a gun like that. We need gun background checks for all potential gun owners to go through.

    July 2, 2013 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  22. sonny chapman

    She's got 10 times the guts than the Sens. & Congs. that are afraid of the NRA & Big Men Who HAVE to have many AR-15s & 30 shot clips to hide their insecurities.

    July 2, 2013 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  23. Kirk

    Mrs. Gifford, you are not at 100% of your brain power and mental capacity. If you can't, your husband should realize that. If your idea of background checks go through you won't be able to buy/own any firearms....

    July 2, 2013 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  24. dfb69

    Does her Dem overlords know that she is touching one of those evil things?

    July 2, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  25. Rudy NYC


    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.

    July 2, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
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