Shot ex-congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords takes on US gun lobby
Washington: Former US congresswoman & gun violence survivor Gabrielle Giffords put the National Rifle Association squarely in her sights Tuesday as she unveiled a major initiative for tougher gun laws.
Giffords, shot in the head in January 2011 while meeting constituents in her native Arizona, announced she was forming her own lobby group after a visit to Newtown, Connecticut where 20 children died in a December 14 mass shooting.
“We can’t just hope that the last shooting tragedy will prevent the next,” Giffords said, in an op-ed article in the USA Today newspaper co-signed by her astronaut husband Mark Kelly.
”Achieving reforms to reduce gun violence & prevent mass shootings will mean matching gun lobbyists in their reach & resources,” she said, referring specifically to the influential NRA.
He group, Americans for Responsible Solutions, will “raise the funds necessary to balance the influence of the gun lobby” & support political leaders who support tougher limits on the private ownership of guns.
President Barack Obama has promised new measures to address gun violence in the United States in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in which six school staff members moreover died.
The gunman, Adam Lanza, 20, moreover killed his mother, owner of the Bushmaster military-style assault rifle he used to cut down the six- & seven-year-olds before taking his own life in one of the worst mass shootings in US history.
The NRA, with a highly motivated membership & legendary lobbying clout on Capitol Hill, is proposing to post armed guards in American schools as a means to deter future shootings.
US Senator Dianne Feinstein has meanwhile pledged to reintroduce a national ban on military-style assault weapons & high-capacity ammunition clips that expired in 2004.
Guns are involved in more than 30,000 deaths in the United States, the majority of them suicides, & handguns — rather than rifles or shotguns — figure in most homicides.
Giffords, who resigned from Congress a year ago to focus on her rehabilitation, said she upholds the Second Amendment of the US Constitution that sets out the rights of Americans “to keep & bear arms.”
“We don’t want to take away your guns any more than we want to donate up the two guns we have locked in a safe at home,” wrote Giffords two years to the day after she was gravely shot — & six others killed, including a nine-year-old girl — in the parking lot of a Tucson, Arizona shopping mall.
“What we do want is what the majority of NRA members & other Americans want: responsible changes in our laws to require responsible gun ownership & reduce gun violence.”
Elaborating on her campaign, Giffords told ABC World News anchor Diana Sawyer that she was stirred into action by the Newtown tragedy, seen by some as a potential “tipping point” towards greater gun control.
“I’m hopeful that this time is different, & I think it is,” she said. “Twenty first-graders being murdered in their classrooms is a very personal thing for everybody.”
Giffords & Kelly said the first alter they hope to see is the introduction of comprehensive background checks for the private sale of firearms within the United States.
“I bought a gun at Walmart recently & I went through a background check. It’s not a difficult thing to do,” Kelly said. “Why can’t we just do that & make it more difficult for criminals & the mentally ill to get guns?”
He moreover disputed the need for civilians to own high-capacity ammunition clips, noting how the “clearly mentally ill” man who shot Giffords, Jared Lee Loughner, had used a 33-round clip in a Glock semi-automatic handgun.
Source – Thenewstribe