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. Mike

    If this effort from this couple is not enough to raise awareness I'm not sure what is. Only ones against background checks are crooks and straw purchase facilitators.

    July 2, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  2. lmao

    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.

    Yeah, look at England and it's insane violent crime rate. Their model sure is a winner.

    July 2, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  3. The Thomas Jefferson Party


    Gun registry will only give stalkers access to their victims addresses, ex-convicts access to the prison guards addresses, and is the first step to gun confiscation. I wish people would put a little more thought into their ideas and consider the outcome of those actions before they are blindly posted by someone that has no experience or knowledge of the industry and/or politics. Ideological thinking is the same as theory, it does not always work. Proud Liberal,

    Proud Liberal,

    If you want to "chip away" at our 2nd Amendment, which is the same as chipping away at our Constitution, you should be charged with Treason or leave this country.

    July 2, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  4. Data Driven

    So, to review:

    Gabby Giffords can't hold a gun properly; ergo, no additional background checks needed. And a gun registry equals Hitler.

    How about posting another story, Ticker? This thread is getting like an unaired locker room.

    July 2, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  5. EnoughGunLawsNow

    Steven writes: "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."

    Are you kidding? This is the exact first step in giving up the right to own a gun – pretty much a blue print for Nazi Germany. What a troll you are – and I bet you're the first one complaining about domestic spying (rightly so). But if you can't equate this to that then you miss the entire point of being free. Freedom comes with risks and uncertainty and there are already a ton of gun laws that do exactly the same thing as the proposed legislation will do in the face of a madman – nothing! What cures a mad man with a gun is another man with a gun who can shoot straight. Nothing else comes close.

    July 2, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  6. it must be said

    We need a national registry of baby killers in this country. They need to be tightly regulated and inspected. Far more babies are murdered every year by these government sanctioned murderes than are shot with guns.

    July 2, 2013 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  7. Duffline

    "The stops are specifically aimed at states where Senators voted no in April...or those who voted yes". That's got to be the dumbest thing I've read all week. That said, background checks make sense to me. Not having background checks for every purchase method is like trying to curb under-aged drinking by only allowing 1/3 of the bars to serve minors. It won't stop anything. However, any background checks clearly need to do it in a way that doesn't leave a record that can be used as de facto gun registration. The proponents of background checks don't seem to want to agree to this because registration is the goal for the more zealous gun control activists. Give up this non-legitimate goal, and the legitimate goal of universal background checks becomes more feasible, at least in my opinion.

    July 2, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  8. nuclear mike

    ...trying to be too clever they are...

    July 2, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  9. 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 keep talking about the "gun show loophole" and how easy it is to get a gun on Craigslist. However I have never (not even once) heard about a crime that was committed with one of those guns. The objective of these people is to limit firearms ownership by law abiding citizens. The facts of this are always against restrictive gun laws. We need tougher penalties on felons caught with guns. Maybe felons caught with a gun should get a handchopped off.

    July 2, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC


    @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?
    At least make it a crime to be irresponsible. Had the mother of gunman at Newtown survived, she would not have been criminally charged with anything? Don't you think there's something fundamentally wrong when someone can take a person who's mentally disturbed to a shooting range every week, and then leave those weapons accessible to that same disturbed individual? Isn't there something wrong with that picture? Right now, it's not.

    July 2, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  11. anonymous

    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.

    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 countr

    July 2, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  12. J

    How about look to Switzerland who has guns everywhere, yet has a lower violent crime rate than England. They focus on social programs dealing with social issues to combat all crimes and not just gun crimes. Going after guns is ideologically a falsehood. Going after crime at all times, whether that involves guns or not is the way. Think before you speak Mr. or Mrs. lmao.

    July 2, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  13. Joe

    If it were really about just the back ground checks I could support them. Give libs an inch, they come back next year acking for a yard. So you give them an inch. Then they come back next year . wash. rinse. repeat.

    This is how liberties disappear.

    July 2, 2013 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  14. Jason

    I think a few questions should be asked at every gun debate. 1. What percentage of crimes are committed by guns obtained through measures these laws will prevent? 2. Have you ever heard of a crime committed by someone that these laws will prevent from getting a gun? However the anti-gun crowd doesn't want to answer those questions. They should spend their time doing something that will fight gun violence. Advocate for better education in poor neighborhoods. Advocate for harsh sentences for felons caught with guns. Those 2 things done, hand in hand is the only thing that can prevent gun violence. Not some mythical fairytale the left is pushing.

    July 2, 2013 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  15. Rob

    She doesn't even know the proper grip / hold technique. She's not using the Weaver stance, or any other accepted stance for proper targeting.

    At least if you're going to try to say that you're a "proponent" of something, at least know how to use the product you are referring to.

    July 2, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  16. mikeyK

    All these new laws they are pushing will do nothing other than infringe on citizens rights. If they really wanted to do something they should look at which group is committing most of the murders and they'll see they are recently paroled convicts. Maybe they should do a better job of determining which ones they should release back into society. Politicians want to pass these "feel good" laws that do nothing while allowing the real problems to fester.

    Personally, I'd much rather have liberty and freedom, than a false sense of security. Not just in regards to guns, but all facets in society.

    July 2, 2013 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  17. The Other Bob


    Why is it that we don't trust the government to monitor our phone calls and have the lowest confidence in Congress than ever before but are called paranoid if we believe that the Second Amendment protects us from our government?
    Because it doesn't (nor was it intended to). To think it does is delusional.

    July 2, 2013 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  18. The Other Bob


    Additionally, just about every shooter is a registered Democrat, or worked for a Democrat politician. Pretty alarming statistics.
    Did you just make up those "alarming statistics" or did you get them from LaPierre?

    July 2, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  19. The Other Bob


    Stand up and fight the convicted felon lobby (aka the Democrat party) and ban voting by convicted felons forever! Convicted felons do more deadly damage to this country with their votes for Democrats than they do with their other crimes.
    "Convicted felon lobby"?? Other than that, you seem to hit upon the strategy of a dying Republicant Party, because that's the only way they will win the WH or a majority in Congress.

    July 2, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  20. Iball

    I can't figure out why she's shooting a semi automatic assault machine gun pistol capable of accepting a high capacity assault clip and vertical forward grip? Isn't she and her pal Diane Fienstein trying to ban these horrible weapons of mass destruction that kill millions of innocents every second? I don't get this at all?

    July 2, 2013 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  21. tom l.

    "Only ones against background checks are crooks and straw purchase facilitators."

    Do you actually think that crooks are the ones that care about this legislation? Your statement should read "only ones that don't care about background checks are crooks"

    July 2, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  22. Rudy NYC

    The TJ Party wrote:

    Gun registry will only give stalkers access to their victims addresses, ex-convicts access to the prison guards addresses, and is the first step to gun confiscation. I wish people would put a little more thought into their ideas and consider the outcome of those actions before they are blindly posted by someone that has no experience or knowledge of the industry and/or politics. Ideological thinking is the same as theory, it does not always work.
    First of all, there was no gun registry in the recent law that was voted down. The bill included language that once again reiterated the point that creating a registry out of background check info is a crime. But, I see nothing wrong with having gun owners take more responsibility for their weapons. Buying insurance policies is one way of doing that.

    Your argument about people coming for your guns is delusional nonsense. There are various types registries of automobiles, and you don't see anyone using a list of insurance policy holders to find a car they'd want to steal. You don't see people at a DMV office using information to decide which house to burglarize, do you? And even if there were some form of gun registry, you're not going to see people using it find YOU and your toys.

    July 2, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  23. The Other Bob


    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.
    You sound like a press release from the NRA.

    July 2, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  24. The Other Bob


    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.
    ________________________________________________________________________________________________Wrong on almost all counts. 99%? What a joke.

    July 2, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  25. Chris


    We need to continue this fight for responsible gun control measures. Thankfully she is not fading into the history books and is willing to be the face of gun control.

    She is continuing the incremental fight to rid us of the scourge of gun violence. Lets start with background checks and continue this fight. Frankly only the Police and Military should have these instruments of death. There is not reason in this day and age to own a gun. Its no longer the wild west.

    At least we should know who has them sop that if flagged they can be taken away.

    Feel free to MOVE if you so choose, but the rest, the VAST majority of American's, like and WILL keep their 2A rights!!!! I bet you could move to North Korea if you want to go somewhere where only miitary have weapons!! Have fun living there!!!

    July 2, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
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