Can Gabby Giffords’ New PAC Change the Conversation on Gun Control?

4 years ago

We’ve all heard about the formidable lobbying power of the NRA and gun rights advocates. What if people who want to see stricter gun control measures banded together and to influence legislators, too? Today, former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband former astronaut Mark Kelly are doing just that -- launching a political action committee to raise money to lobby lawmakers for greater gun safety measures. Why today? It’s the two-year anniversary of the day she and several others were shot in the parking lot of a Tucson grocery store, during a community event.

In an editorial published this morning in USA Today, the Democrat from Arizona and her husband write that it’s about time for our nation’s lawmakers do something about the repeated mass shootings:

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.

Giffords and Kelly’s organization is called Americans for Responsible Solutions, and it’s already amassed nearly 10,000 likes on Facebook.

"Jan. 4, 2013 - Newtown, Connecticut, U.S. - Former Arizona congresswoman GABBY GIFFORDS leaves the Newtown Municipal Center on Friday, holding hands with her husband, MARK KELLY. U.S. Senator RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (L) and Lt. Gov. NANCY WYMAN (R) are walking with the couple. Giffords, still recovering from her 2010 shooting in Tucson, met with families that were affected by the Sandy Hill shooting. (Credit Image: © Staff/MCT/"

In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shootings, there’s been a stronger than ever call for Congress and the President to take action to change something – restricting semi-automatic weapons or high capacity magazines, enforcing stricter background checks on weapons sales – to keep these mass shootings from becoming more and more commonplace.

Giffords has proven herself a fighter in rehabilitating from her head wounds. She made her wobbly steps onstage at the Democratic National Convention in September, and last Friday, she visited Newtown, Connecticut families who lost their children in the Sandy Hook shootings .

Giffords and Kelly are in a unique position to lead this charge. Besides being a victim of gun violence, Giffords is an insider among Second Amendment supporters and could breach the ever-widening gap between Americans who support the right to bear arms and Americans who believe gun control is key to ending the senseless deaths. From their op-ed:

Forget the boogeyman of big, bad government coming to dispossess you of your firearms. As a Western woman and a Persian Gulf War combat veteran who have exercised our Second Amendment rights, we don't want to take away your guns any more than we want to give up the two guns we have locked in a safe at home. What we do want is what the majority of NRA members and other Americans want: responsible changes in our laws to require responsible gun ownership and reduce gun violence.

What do you think? Could Gabby Giffords and Americans for Responsible Solutions be the start of some movement toward gun control?

News and Politics Editor Grace Hwang Lynch blogs at HapaMama and A Year (Almost) Without Shopping.

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