The campaign for common sense gun safety in the United States picked up significant steam on Tuesday.
Two years to the day after she was critically wounded in a mass shooting in Tucson, Arizona, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords launched a new campaign to counter the power and money of gun lobby groups like the National Rifle Association of America (NRA).
Giffords and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, met last week with victims of the Dec. 14 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, where 20 young children and six educators were killed by a deranged gunman.
The couple wrote Tuesday in a USA Today op-ed, “With Americans for Responsible Solutions engaging millions of people about ways to reduce gun violence and funding political activity nationwide, legislators will no longer have reason to fear the gun lobby.”
In addition, Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG), headed by New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg, is out with a powerful new ad featuring Roxanna Green, mother of Christina-Taylor Green. She was the youngest victim killed in the Tucson shooting.
“My 9-year-old daughter was murdered in the Tucson shooting,” Green says in the video. “I have one question for our political leaders: when will you find the courage to stand up to the gun lobby? Whose child has to die next? To every mother, we cannot wait. We have to demand a plan.”
Meantime, the NRA is scheduled to meet with Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday as he considers recommendations on how to respond to the Newtown shooting, the White House announced on Tuesday.
President Obama has asked Biden to come up with a broad range of ideas to curb gun violence. Biden’s task force is examining legislation that would ban assault rifles. It is also looking at the role of violent movies and video games in mass shootings and whether there is adequate access to mental health services.
The NRA wants armed guards at schools. Indeed, the Community Education Council of Staten Island in New York City voted Monday night for armed guards in schools. But Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott says, “It’s not happening.”
In Arizona, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is sending out his group of armed vigilantes to patrol school neighborhoods. And Ohio and Texas have trained hundreds of teachers on the use of firearms. Turns out in Ohio, it’s legal to carry in schools and the Attorney General, Mike Dewine, thinks it’s a good idea.
Really? Is this really the solution?
Programming alert: Watch “The Ed Show” tonight (Tuesday) at 8/11pET on MSNBC for extended coverage of the political battle over common sense gun safety. Ed will be talking with U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT).