Assassination survivor Gabrielle Giffords fighting the gun lobby
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Assassination survivor Gabrielle Giffords fighting the gun lobby

Tucson : AZ : USA | Jan 08, 2013 at 5:47 AM PST
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Gabrielle Giffords

Retired Tucson Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her astronaut husband, Mark Kelly, have begun a campaign to battle the NRA.

The couple created a website, Americans for Responsible Solutions, to campaign for more gun control.

Last week Giffords, who was forced to retire because of the “through-and-through” bullet wound to her head during an assassination attempt, visited families of victims of the Sandy Hook School Massacre.

The announcement of the campaign was made on the day the hearing began for James Holmes, who killed 12 people and wounded 58 others, during the opening of the latest Batman movie in Aurora, Colo.

She is following in the footsteps of James Brady, press secretary to the late President Ronald Reagan. Both were wounded during an assassination attempt in 1981. Brady was permanently disabled with partial paralysis, but was able to begin a campaign for gun control.

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence led to led to the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, which required background checks on some gun sales. Congress passed a ban on assault weapons in 1994 but it was allowed to expire 10 years later under President George Bush.

Giffords also didn’t give up after being among 13 persons wounded and six killed by psychotic Jared Lee Loughner. She returned temporarily to Congress after a few months rest and recuperation, a true testament to a strong will and the neuroplasticity of the brain, but it became clear she could not remain through the end of her term.

On her website she says:

“Two years ago, a mentally ill young man shot me in the head, killed six of my constituents, and wounded 12 others. Since that terrible day, America has seen 11 more mass shootings – but no response from Congress to prevent gun violence. After the massacre of 20 children and six of their teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary though, it’s clear: This time must be different.”

She goes on to say: “I was shot in the head while meeting with constituents two years ago today. Since then, my extensive rehabilitation has brought excitement and gratitude to our family. But time and time again, our joy has been diminished by new, all too familiar images of death on television: the breaking news alert, stunned witnesses blinking away tears over unspeakable carnage, another community in mourning. America has seen an astounding 11 mass shootings since a madman used a semiautomatic pistol with an extended ammunition clip to shoot me and kill six others. Gun violence kills more than 30,000 Americans annually.”

Referring to what she called an ideological fringe, she said, “Special interests purporting to represent gun owners but really advancing the interests of an ideological fringe have used big money and influence to cow Congress into submission. Rather than working to find the balance between our rights and the regulation of a dangerous product, these groups have cast simple protections for our communities as existential threats to individual liberties. Rather than conducting a dialogue, they threaten those who divert from their orthodoxy with political extinction.”

RESOURCES:

Americans for Responsible Solutions

Brady Campaign

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The retired Arizona congressman, Gabrielle Giffords, met with the families of Sandy Hook victims.
Robert Weller is based in Denver, Colorado, United States of America, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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