In observing the two-year anniversary that left six dead and 13 others injured in the Safeway parking lot on Ina Road, former U.S. Rep Gabrielle Giffords is no longer sitting on the sidelines.
Giffords, who is still recovering from a gunshot wound to the head on Jan. 8, 2011, along with her husband, Mark Kelly, have rolled out the “Americans for Responsible Solutions” initiative.
Americans for Responsible Solutions will encourage elected officials to stand up for solutions to prevent gun violence and protect responsible gun ownership by communicating directly with the constituents that elect them.
Giffords and Kelly published an op-ed in USA Today Monday, and conducted an interview with Diane Sawyer on ABC News.
After the Jan. 8 shooting, Kelly and Giffords have appeared on news stations, or interviews from time to time, stating that gun control is needed. However, the two said it was time to become more proactive in making Congress act after the shooting in Newtown Conn. that left 20 children and six adults dead.
Since the Jan. 8 shooting n Tucson, there have been 11 other mass shootings in the United States, including one that left more than 50 dead in a Colorado theater.
“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 said in the USA Today op-ed. “I was shot in the 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 to 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.
“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 substance, and made transportation safer. But when it comes to protecting our communities from gun violence, we’re not event trying – and for the worst of reasons.”
Kelly said he and Giffords are gun owners, and interested in protecting the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution, but said something needs to be done to protect Americans from mass shootings.
Weapons designed for the battlefield should not be so easily accessible by criminals and the mentally ill without proper background checks. The couple agrees that firearm accessories designed for killing at a high rate are legal and widely available.
“Forget the boogeyman of big, bad government coming to dispossess you of your firearms,” the couple said. “As a Western woman and 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.”
Since the Jan. 8 shooting, Giffords has had to go through extensive therapy, learning how to walk and speak again. Giffords still struggles to use her right arm, struggles to walk and can only speak in one and two-word sentences.
To learn more about Americans for Responsible Solutions, visit the website at www.americansforresponsiblesolutions.org.