Giffords on gun control: 'We'll persist'
January 8th, 2014
08:27 AM ET
9 years 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."

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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. wendel

    common sense will prevail. keep chipping away.

    January 8, 2014 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  2. PaulG

    A survey of state and federal inmates shows where they get their guns:
    Friends or family 39.6
    Street/illegal source 39.2
    Retail store 8.3
    Pawnshop 3.8
    Flea market 1.0
    Gun show 0.7 <–The 'loophole'
    bjs.ojp.usdoj dot gov/content/pub/pdf/fuo.pdf
    So gun control advocates, how would your UGBCs realistically have any impact on the first to groups (that combined account for ~80% of criminal firearm acquisitions)? Please do tell...

    January 8, 2014 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  3. HenryMiller

    "Giffords on gun control: 'We'll persist'"

    Me on gun control: So will those of us who refuse to be controlled.

    I didn't shoot Gabby Giffords, and nor did a 100 million other American gun owners. It mystifies me why we're under attack for the actions of a handful of crazies.

    January 8, 2014 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  4. Silence DoGood

    @jackmeirod "criminals will still get guns and will continue to commit crimes"
    By this reasoning making laws against stealing, raping, and murder will do no good because criminals will continue to steal, rape, and murder. Therefore we should do away with laws against stealing, rape, and murder.

    On the other hand, there are good guys with guns out there with our movie based hero image. Why is there still increasing gun violence? That is not working either. Maybe we could try some guns restrictions and see how it goes.

    January 8, 2014 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  5. smith

    "We`ll persist", and continue to lose. This issue (like abortion) is a no win scenario. What a waste of time and resources..smh

    January 8, 2014 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  6. Dutch Cassidy

    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.
    Been to several gun shows. Most sellers are licensed FFLs. There you go, spreading more death, fear, and lying for Gifford's Agenda. Univ Background checks will NEVER pass because invasion into a person's medical records is going too far. Want to prevent these deaths? Look at why crime is dropping in the US. better police planning, strategy, and presence. Several studies prove this. Only way to stop a good guy with a gun is a bad guy with a gun, like in the latest Colorado shooting. A cop ran towards the shooter and the shooter was neutralized (by himself) before he could kill more than 1 person.

    January 8, 2014 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  7. DannyDan

    "By this reasoning making laws against stealing, raping, and murder will do no good because criminals will continue to steal, rape, and murder. Therefore we should do away with laws against stealing, rape, and murder."

    Wrong, there are already a few thousand laws controlling guns and murder or assault with a gun is already illegal and nobody wants to decriminalize crimes committed with a gun. Something more comparable would be banning KY Jelly, rope, duct tape, and kitchen knives because they are used by rapists, banning flash lights, ski masks, and duffel bags because they are used by robbers, and banning alcohol because it is involved 40% of all homicides.

    " Why is there still increasing gun violence? " Gun violence is going down, the media coverage is the only thing increasing.

    January 8, 2014 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  8. Dutch Cassidy

    The 2nd Amendment is growing stronger. Chicago just ruled the ban is unconstitutional. Last year, Anti-gun groups spent 100's of millions on ads, where pro gun groups spend under 10 million. And still, 66% of the laws passed were laxing gun laws. This year will be a wake up call for the senators in states where seats are up, and I'm pumped!!!!!!

    January 8, 2014 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  9. PaulG

    @current state of the union
    For a glimpse of what these nutball politicians really want, google “If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States, for an outright ban, picking up everyone of them (every gun) Mr. and Mrs. America, turn ‘em all in. I would have done it."

    January 8, 2014 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  10. Ken

    For advocates of gun control, please consider these points.

    If guns or access to guns is the cause of mass shootings, why has there never been a mass shooting at a gun show?

    If banning guns worked, why does Mexico, which entirely bans private firearms ownership, have over 30,000 gun murders a year?

    Since inmates have no access to firearms, then prisons should have no murders or violent crimes right?

    If gun free zones and banning firearms in certain areas works so well, why has almost every mass shooting taken place inside these areas?

    January 8, 2014 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  11. Dutch Cassidy

    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.
    Most studies indicate 50% of criminals get their guns via straw man. this is not 1,2, or 3 but instead:

    – A CRIMINAL (knowingly purchasing a gun for another) buys a gun for another criminal.

    Another biggie is stealing from someone who legally purchased.

    in any case, irrelevant. As the 2 I listed are unpreventable with Univ Bk Checks. And besides, the extra 'digging into my medical records' is not worth the law to stop 2% of gun show loophole criminals. Sorry, I'll pass!!

    January 8, 2014 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
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