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. d

    Because guns are fun.

    July 2, 2013 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  2. Steveo

    @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.
    Maybe its just me but I thought this was a SERIOUS discussion! Once again, another blanket statement Rudy? Predictable!

    July 2, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  3. Scott

    She is ONLY "posing" as being pro-gun. Move along, nothing to see here other than another lying politician.


    July 2, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  4. Steveo


    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 you're against abortion? I base my question on your "if only one life is saved" Why stop at the 2nd? You wanna repeal it all? That way you'll have you workers paradise!

    July 2, 2013 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  5. Nathan

    Proud Liberal: If we banned cars we could save at least one life as well. Or fast food, or swimming pools, or alcohol, or... you get the idea

    July 2, 2013 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  6. Lawless4U

    Scott, what make syou say that? She was a member of the NRA until they decided that nothing needed to be done after Sandy Hook.

    Also, why are better background checks not supported by the NRA officiallly even though a majority of it's members do?

    July 2, 2013 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  7. Scott

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

    Because the komrade libs are hypocrites. Or as I call them, Libocrites. Also, the komrade libs do not want a face/name that can draw gun-grabbing sympathy to be imprisoned for breaking one of the current anti-gun laws.


    July 2, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  8. Taco

    She's a bit of a hypocrit, isn't she?

    July 2, 2013 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  9. Scoot C.

    They think passing stricter background checks will prevent criminals from having guns? This is a wild pipe dream hoping this would be the one law that criminals would follow. How many convicted felons are later prosecuted for having guns, even though background checks and current laws prevent them from having one? How do you explain chicago which has some of the strictest gun laws in the country and their rampant gun problem. The only way to prevent any more gun deaths is to go door to door, car to car and perform a thourough search of everyones property and removing all guns and ammo from peoples possesion. And that folks isnt going to happen.

    July 2, 2013 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  10. James Morris

    If gabby wants to be put in a Data Bank that's her affair but to ask the other gun owners to submit to it is a no no no go after the bad guys whos robbing and stealing not us ( Americans you know the land of the FREE) but to see her shooting hell if I was her I wouldn't touch a gun but this shows you shes part of the americans who think she smart but on this subject she dumb as HELL

    July 2, 2013 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  11. Geode

    Amendment II

    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

    I would question the patriotism of anybody who has a problem with this. The principles expressed in this document must not be kicked to the curb as a quaint and outdated notion. We are a nation of laws based in the US Constitution.

    July 2, 2013 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  12. William Polhamus

    If she is under the care of a psychiatrist, the she just violated Federal Law. Anybody know if she is or not?

    July 2, 2013 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  13. Zondar

    The bill included language that once again reiterated the point that creating a registry out of background check info is a crime.
    No, it included language that prevented the ATTORNEY GENERAL from creating a registry. It didn't prohibit the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT from creating one, only one particular position.

    Tell me how to enforce a "universal" background check without a registry and we can talk.

    July 2, 2013 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  14. Natch

    Ah, yes, the Hypocrisy Twins!! They'll argue against guns, and "extended capacity" magazines, all the while owning guns, and carrying them with the same magazines they want to take away from everyone else!

    Typical liberals, in other words.

    July 2, 2013 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  15. Z

    Since she was a victim of violent trauma, has anyone performed a psychological evaluation of this woman before allowing her to handle a gun? Fair question.

    July 2, 2013 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  16. John E.

    It's funny how extended background checks seem to mean anti-2nd Amendment. The two are not mutually exclusive.... if you buy a gun you should have your background check completed FIRST regardless of being at a gun 'show' or in a store that sells guns.

    Pretty simple what 'Right' is being infringed upon. The fact that you throw magazine limitations or description of an assault weapon on top of it....then you risk with the 'All or nothing' mentality of it being rejected. That was dumb.

    July 2, 2013 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  17. Bob 'rehoboth-beach foodie" Yesbek

    Typical American Hypocrite!

    July 2, 2013 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  18. orrball

    I wish they were more controls on video game, tv and Hollywood but that's not going to happen just look at The Simpson , Family Guy And Two and Half men. All adult content but on in early evening segments . Hollywood and Video games I do not have to explain . Now don't get me wrong I love these shows but for people that are to young this is wrong! Guns are not the problem just like a car that runs over some one the car is not the problem

    July 2, 2013 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  19. gerd liebschner

    wow,she really is one of us.see,she shoots guns too.
    yeah,right.how stupid do you think we are?

    July 2, 2013 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  20. rofl

    Wow dude, Proud Liberal's ignorance is the scary kind of ignorance.

    July 2, 2013 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  21. EbonyDelite

    The 2nd amendment is there for a REAL reason! Although the founding fathers couldn't see the future, they knew that all governments turn on their citizens at some point or another. 1) A military at the Federal level is needed to protect the nation in a state of war. 2) A militia/guard at the State level is needed to augment the Federal military during wartime and to be deployed by governors during State emergencies. 3) the ONLY way to guard against an oppressive tyrannical government is the lawful possession of firearms by the citizenry! Rules and regulations are necessary to insure that guns don't fall into criminal hands, but should never be used to prevent law abiding people from defending their lives and freedom. The NWO is creating false flags in order to stir up emotions so that our rights and freedoms can be taken away. Please think more... follow less!

    July 2, 2013 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  22. archie cash

    Let me understand this if I can. Does she get SS benefits? Does she get Federal Benefits? If so, why is she handling a weapon? I have a good friend and Veteran and cannot do what she is doing because of PTSD. He hasn't broken the law, never been told by a judge he can't own a weapon but after the VA got him, He cannot pass a NICS check as he has a mental disorder from a roadside bomb. Has she been fully checked out to handle and buy a Firearm? Just questions??

    July 2, 2013 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  23. JediMindTrick

    People with brain damage should not be allowed to use guns.

    July 2, 2013 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  24. GaryB

    I'm a gun owner, but I have no problem with real background checks for gun show purchases and anything beyond family-to-family private purchases. Will more background checks stop all criminal or homicidal maniacs from getting guns? No. But they would certainly slow down the march of guns from the US into Mexico (and keep in mind that many of those guns end up coming back to the US in the hands of gang members), and it might make some private citizens be a little more careful about who they're selling their guns to. I also have to say that after some of the things I've seen when I'm out during hunting season, some requirement for basics weapons training might not be a bad thing either.

    July 2, 2013 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  25. NanookoftheNorth

    You go girl...and welcome to Alaska !

    July 2, 2013 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
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