A national initiative aimed at curbing gun violence was launched by former US. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, on Tuesday, Jan. 8 — the second anniversary of the shooting in Tucson that killed six people and left her critically injured.
A new campaign website: Americans for Responsible Solutions, promised to “launch a national dialogue and raise funds to counter influence of the gun lobby.”
The couple last week visited Newtown, Conn., where a gunman opened fire in an elementary school, killing 20 children and six adults in December. They also met with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a gun control advocate.
“In response to a horrific series of shootings that has sown terror in our communities, victimized tens of thousands of Americans, and left one of its own bleeding and near death in a Tucson parking lot, Congress has done something quite extraordinary – nothing at all,” the pair wrote in an editorial published Tuesday on their site and in USA Today.
“Achieving reforms to reduce gun violence and prevent mass shootings will mean matching gun lobbyists in their reach and resources,” they wrote in the column.
“This country is known for using its determination and ingenuity to solve problems, big and small. Wise policy has conquered disease, protected us from dangerous products and substances, and made transportation safer. But when it comes to protecting our communities from gun violence, we’re not even trying — and for the worst of reasons.”
In an interview with ABC News, the couple said the visit to Newtown brought back a lot of memories of their own ordeal two years ago.
“And you hope that this kind of thing doesn’t happen again. But you know what? It does happen again,” Kelly said.
Kelly and Giffords said they are both gun owners and strongly support the Second Amendment, but they acknowledge the need to prevent guns from ending up in the “wrong hands.”
The couple hope to work with politicians to take gun lobbyists head-on and engage the country in a discussion about preventing gun violence.
They also hope to establish a requirement for a comprehensive background check for the private sale of guns, and address the issue of the treatment of mentally ill people in the United States. Another issue they hope to tackle is that of high-capacity magazines.
“An extended magazine is used to kill people,” Kelly, a veteran of Desert Storm, told ABC, “lots of people.” (Sources: Alastair Jamieson, Becky Bratu, NBC News )