On the two year anniversary of the Tucson shooting that killed 6 and injured 19 including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, she and her husband have launched Americans for Responsible Solutions, a political action committee designed to “join a national conversation about gun violence prevention, will raise the funds necessary to balance the influence of the gun lobby.”
In a USAToday op-ed co-written with her husband, Astronaut Mark Kelly, Giffords describes the joy of her own recovery “diminished” by the “all too familiar” images of gun violence she’s seen since. “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,” she writes.
Giffords and Kelly point to their gun ownership—they said they have two guns locked away in their own home—as proof that they don’t simply want to give up guns or take others’ away, calling instead for “responsible changes in our laws to require responsible gun ownership and reduce gun violence.”
The group plans to raise money to help combat the funding of the gun lobby, which Giffords and Kelly describe as, “Special interests purporting to represent gun owners but really advancing the interests of an ideological fringe” that uses money “to cow Congress into submission.”
Countering those efforts will take a lot of money. NRA spending, from contributions to lobbying to outside expenditures, totaled more than $20 million in the 2012 election cycle alone.
Giffords joined a newly growing gun violence dialogue when she traveled to Newtown, Conn., last week to meet privately with families of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting. Not everyone was happy with that visit, which prompted one local Republican lawmaker to tell her to “stay out” of the town.
Giffords’ effort may help buoy the eight gun control measures introduced on the first day of the 113th Congress, and could play a role in Vice President Joe Biden’s task force. Biden has been quietly working towards solutions for gun violence since President Obama appointed him to the informal post in the wake of December’s Connecticut shooting which left 20 children and 7 adults dead.