Giffords, Kelly group launches veterans initiative for gun control
November 8th, 2013
03:24 PM ET
9 years ago

Giffords, Kelly group launches veterans initiative for gun control

(CNN) – Dozens of retired senior military veterans are signing onto Americans for Responsible Solutions, the pro-gun control group of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly.

The new initiative, Veterans for Responsible Solutions, will support Giffords and Kelly's wider efforts by bringing to bear the experience of military veterans who've sworn to defend the Second Amendment and have themselves been well versed in the use of firearms.

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Kelly is taking point on the initiative as a veteran himself. The former astronaut is a retired Navy captain, becoming a combat veteran as a military aviator.

"I've been shot at" while flying, Kelly told reporters on a conference call organized to promote the initiative.

Moreover, there are guns in the Arizona home Kelly shares with Giffords he said, guns used for self-defense and target shooting.

The point Kelly was trying to prove is that neither he nor any member of his organization is looking to repeal or limit Second Amendment rights, likely because the perception of any move against gun ownership in the United States is bound to incite fierce opposition from the powerful pro-gun lobby.

"We're for gun rights," said James Barnett, a retired rear admiral.

Instead, Veterans for Responsible Solutions wants commonsense actions like universal background checks, Kelly said.

These are background checks an overwhelming majority of Americans have said they support, polls show.

Vance Coleman, a retired Army major general, said on the call that he also owns guns. But not everyone should, Coleman continued, namely criminals and the mentally ill.

"They should not own guns and the Congress needs to do something about that," Coleman said.

The exact functions of the veterans initiative remains fluid.

According to Kelly, some members will be doing little more than lending their names while others will be pursuing a greater measure of activism, perhaps by writing newspaper editorials.

Efforts at introducing universal background checks stalled when a Senate bill got 54 votes in April, six shy of the supermajority it would have needed.

The Obama administration's vow to fight on gained little traction, although there have been limited executive actions taken since then aimed at curbing gun violence.

On Friday Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius pushed new rules that would require mental illness to be treated the same as physical ailments.

Gun control activists and other have argued that not enough attention has been paid to treating the mentally ill when it comes to trying to prevent gun violence.

Politically, gun control has proven largely unpalatable, particularly with the successful recall elections in September of a pair of Democratic legislators in Colorado who helped push gun control measures.

Groups like the National Rifle Association argue that background checks and other restrictions harm only law-abiding gun owners while criminals will continue to obtain firearms illegally.

Filed under: Gabrielle Giffords • Gun control • Gun rights • Mark Kelly • Veterans
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. Bill from GA

    Rudy " True, but most of that oxygen stays in the water. Most of the airborne oxygen comes from trees in the forests. "Nice try, but you gotcha self.""

    Did they let you grade your own papers in school?

    You can claim whatever 'facts' you want to, but look it up: there are many reports that claim algae was the original source of the planets' oxygen, and is still responsible for " 70% of the atmospheric oxygen, more than all the forest and fields combined", from algaeindustrymagazine.

    November 8, 2013 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  2. smith

    More time and money wasted on a subject that will never change. I respectfully disagree with the vets who have joined this political lobby group. Btw, I do not belong to the NRA.

    November 8, 2013 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  3. The Real Tom Paine


    This so called second amendment is bunch of bs, man made, it can be quashed. Pass total Gun-Ban Laws. Period.

    Might want to check your GPS device. This is not Cuba, North Korea or Communist China.
    Talk about the typical ignorant low information Democrat supporter. You take the cake.
    you know, there are other amendments besides the Second. For example, take the First Amendment: in your view, no one else's opinion is of any value, and needs to be suppressed. The editor of Guns and Ammo got fired for expressing his opinion that gun control needs to be discussed. The no-information gun huggers got him fired for independent thought. Typical no-info rightie.

    November 8, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  4. The Real Tom Paine


    "And, Hey, Rudy, over 70% of the planets oxygen comes from algae in the oceans."

    Wanna tell the class what climate change/global warming, rising ocean temperatures and melting ice caps are doing to algae populations?
    Don't talk science with them: it just enrages them more.

    November 8, 2013 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  5. smith

    Where are all the enlisted personnel? Why is just a bunch of officers? If you have ever served you know there is a huge gap between the two.

    November 8, 2013 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
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