A few years back someone walked up to then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords outside a Safeway in Tucson, Arizona, and shot her in the head. The shooter, Jared Loughner, killed six and injured a dozen or so others. In 2012, another nut shot up a movie theater in Aurora, Illinois. Later that year, a shooter walked into a Newtown, Connecticut, elementary school and murdered 20 children. These are only a few high-profile examples of the dozens of mass shootings that have taken place in the last several years.
After Newtown, President Obama and many members of Congress finally felt compelled to make the first serious push for gun control legislation in decades. Their demands were eventually whittled down to some modest measures, such as expanding background checks for gun buyers. But even that effort, pushed hard by then-former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and backed by vast majorities of the American people, failed to overcome a Republican Senate filibuster.
Oddly enough, it strains certain imaginations that the above sequence of events is something that people could get really, really angry about it. That masses of people, including members of Congress, movie-theater patrons, and children could get shot, and that members of Congress — mostly Republicans, with a handful of conservative Democrats — wouldn’t even accede a minimal piece of legislation shoring up the country’s porous background check laws. It’s horrifying and enraging, and those public figures who work to maintain or even loosen what we might generously called the “loopholed” status quo of American gun law should expect to be treated as accomplices to this farce.
As Giffords herself recovered, retired from Congress and became an ardent advocate for stricter background checks, she first tried to play nice. She implored members of both parties to work together to pass common-sense gun regulations, like those closing background check loopholes for private sales on the Internet and at gun shows. The advocacy commercials she and/or her husband appeared in were mostly to urge action, not to attack. As we know, that didn’t work very well.
So this cycle, Giffords’ super PAC, Americans for Responsible Solutions, is getting “mean.” That’s how Politico describes the group’s tactics this cycle.
I can’t believe the Governor of Georgia signed this incredibly dangerous gun “rights” bill. What about the rights of potential victims of this madness?
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (R) signed a sweeping gun rights bill on Wednesday.
House Bill 60, also known as the Safe Carry Protection Act, will allow licensed gun owners to carry their firearms into public places, including bars, nightclubs, schools, churches and government buildings.
“People who follow the rules can protect themselves and their families from people who don’t follow the rules,” Deal said, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “The Second Amendment should never be an afterthought. It should reside at the forefronts of our minds.”
The National Rifle Association has praised the bill as “the most comprehensive pro-gun reform legislation introduced in recent state history” and called it a “historic victory for the Second Amendment.” Americans for Responsible Solutions, a gun control organization started by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), fought todefeat the bill, calling it “the most extreme gun bill in America.”
Colin Goddard, a survivor of the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting who now works with the advocacy group Everytown For Gun Safety, called the bill “unprecedented.”
“The Stand Your Ground expansion is truly a new type of Stand Your Ground as we know it,” Goddard said of the measure, which some critics dubbed the “guns everywhere” bill. “To expand it in such a way to remove all carrying or possession offenses is really unprecedented.”
For more on Deal’s thoughts on the bill, go to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Finally, some good news.
Not only does Gabrielle Giffords deserve the award for her fight against irresponsible gun laws but also because she fought her way back from a horrific battle for her life after being one of several victims shot at an outdoor town hall she was about to conduct. Honorable mention goes to Gabby’s devoted husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly who has stood by her side and encouraged her all the way back from what appeared to be a very long rehabilitation.
Former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords received the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award on Sunday, asking the U.S. Congress to act more courageously on the issue of gun control.
“We all have courage inside,” Giffords, who herself survived being shot in 2011, said at the Kennedy Library in Boston. “I wish there was more courage in Congress. Sometimes it’s hard to express it.”
The remarks come just a few weeks after the U.S. Senate voted down a measure to expand background checks for gun buyers, a step favored by U.S. President Barack Obama and most Americans.
An online Reuters/Ipsos poll released in January showed that 86 percent of those surveyed favored expanded background checks of all gun buyers.
Giffords, a Democrat, was shot in the head when a gunman opened fire on a congressional outreach event in Tucson in January 2011, killing six people and wounding a dozen others. She resigned from Congress a year after the shooting to focus on her recovery.
Following the attack in Newtown, Connecticut, that killed 26 people at an elementary school in December, Giffords and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, founded a lobby group aimed at curbing gun violence and challenging the political clout of the well-funded gun lobby.
Before the awards ceremony on Sunday, Giffords and Kelly visited victims of the April 15 Boston Marathon bombing who are recovering at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.
The award, named for President Kennedy’s 1957 Pulitzer Prize-winning book “Profiles in Courage,” was presented to Giffords by foundation president Caroline Kennedy. (Reporting by Aaron Pressman; Editing by Chris Reese)
- Gabrielle Giffords Receives JFK Profile In Courage Award (personalliberty.com)
- Giffords receives Profile in Courage award (sacbee.com)
- Giffords receives Profile in Courage award (cnsnews.com)
- Giffords receives Profile in Courage award (mysanantonio.com)
- Gabrielle Giffords challenges U.S. Congress to find courage on guns (reuters.com)
I’d call this revelation an excellent example of just desserts…
A new poll has New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte down a total of 15 points from her previous approval rating in a survey that followed her vote against requiring background checks for firearms purchases.
Ayotte’s plunge underscores the changing politics around gun control and gun safety. In years past, lawmakers worried that a vote for gun control would bring the anger of the National Rifle Association. In the new reality, votes against gun control also carry a political risk, as the Ayotte (R) poll indicates.
A full three-quarters of New Hampshire voters support such background checks, along with 56 percent of Republicans, according to Public Policy Polling. A WMUR Granite State Poll taken in January and February found that more than 9 in 10 state residents supported implementing background checks at gun shows.
It’s not entirely clear yet how opposition to background checks will play out at the polls, but there are signs Ayotte’s vote may have taken a toll.
In October, the last time that PPP surveyed voters about Ayotte, she had a 48-35 approval rating. She has now tumbled underwater, with 46 percent disapproving and 44 percent approving. The 11-point surge in disapproval threatens Ayotte’s 2016 reelection, when she could face popular Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan. Ayotte won her 2010 race by 23 points, but in a hypothetical matchup against Hassan trails 46-44.
Forty-five percent of independents in the state disapproved of Ayotte, up 13 points since October. Half of voters said her vote on background checks made them less inclined to vote for her, with only a quarter saying it made them more likely to support her.
Among the critical third of voters who described themselves as moderates, disapproval of Ayotte increased by 21 points, with two-thirds saying her vote against background checks made them less likely to vote for her. Only 13 percent said it made them more likely to back her, an overwhelming 5-1 margin.
Local coverage has not been friendly to Ayotte. Sunday’s Portsmouth Herald headlined its editorial: “If you want gun control, vote Ayotte out of office.”
“New Hampshire voters who care passionately about sensible gun legislation can contribute to the effort by defeating U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, the only senator in New England to vote against the Toomey-Manchin bill. Ayotte justified her vote by parroting the NRA, saying the measure would ‘place unnecessary burdens on law-abiding gun owners and allow for potential overreach by the federal government into private gun sales.'”
The Concord Monitor was flooded with angry letters and ran a rough cartoon of her. The editorial page called it a “double abomination.” She was hit by a tough ad paid for by Gabby Giffords’ group — the kind of on-the-ground spending that is helping to alter the political dynamic.
Dean Debnam, president of PPP, sees it as trouble for Ayotte. “New Hampshire is a good bellwether for fallout from the gun vote,” he said. “There’s serious backlash from voters toward Kelly Ayotte for how she handled this issue.”
The PPP poll surveyed 933 New Hampshire voters using automated phone calls between April 19 and 21.
- Americans Aren’t That Mad Gun Control Failed (theatlanticwire.com)
- Gun Violence Victim Confronts Senator For Voting Down Background Checks (thinkprogress.org)
- Welcome to the United States of the NRA (viewfrommiddleclass.wordpress.com)
- Giffords group hits McConnell, Ayotte on guns (politico.com)
- Ayotte faces backlash over gun vote (publicpolicypolling.com)
Attorneys for Denver-area theater shooting suspect James Holmes have offered to have him plead guilty and be jailed for life to avoid the death penalty, KUSA-TV is reporting.
The prosecution has not yet responded to the offer, which came in a court filing Wednesday.
“Mr. Holmes is currently willing to resolve the case to bring the proceedings to a speedy and definite conclusion,” the filing reads.
The defense team said the case could end Monday if the Arapahoe County district attorney accepts the deal. Prosecutors planned to announce Monday whether they would seek the death penalty.
Holmes, 25, is charged with first-degree murder for the July 20 rampage that killed 12 moviegoers and wounded nearly 60 others at the premiere of the latest Batman film at a multiplex in Aurora.
On March 12, a judge entered a not guilty plea on Holmes’ behalf but said Holmes could enter a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity later.
Trial is set for Aug. 5.
KUSA, a Denver TV station owned by Gannett, USA TODAY’s parent company, notes that a similar plea deal was offered to Jared Loughner, the man charged in a Tuscon mass shooting. The federal government withdrew the death penalty after he pleaded guilty to killing six and wounding 13, including former U.S. congresswoman Gabby Giffords, in January 2011.
Loughner was sentenced to seven consecutive life terms and an additional 140 years.
Arizona authorities have just released crime reports from the case, which had been sealed by court order.
- James Holmes Pleads Guilty in Colorado (hispanicbusiness.com)
- James Holmes ‘ponders guilty plea’ to avoid death penalty (updatednews.ca)
- James Holmes: Batman cinema massacre suspect offers to plead guilty to avoid death penalty (mirror.co.uk)
- James Holmes — I’ll Plead GUILTY … to Avoid the Death Penalty (tmz.com)
Mark Kelly is married to former AZ Congress woman Gabby Giffords. He is an accomplished man in his own right and he is a responsible gun owner.
The owner of a gun shop in Tucson, Arizona on Monday refused to hand over an AR-15 military-style rifle that Mark Kelly purchased in order to demonstrate how easy it was to obtain assault weapons.
In a statement posted to Facebook, Diamondback Police Supply owner Doug MacKinlay said that he was blocking the former astronaut’s Second Amendment right because he questioned the political “intent” behind the purchase.
“While I support and respect Mark Kelly’s 2nd Amendment rights to purchase, possess, and use firearms in a safe and responsible manner, his recent statements to the media made it clear that his intent in purchasing the Sig Sauer M400 5.56mm rifle from us was for reasons other then for his personal use,” MacKinlay wrote.
Kelly, who is the husband of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), said that he had purchased the rifle to show how easy it was to pass a background check. The effort was part of his push for more gun control in response to his wife’s shooting and other recent mass shootings.
A weapon similar to the Sig Sauer M400 was used last year to gun down 20 elementary school children in Newtown, Connecticut.
MacKinlay promised to refund all of Kelly’s money and raffle the weapon off to support the Arizona Tactical Officers Association.
- REACT: Arizona Gun Store Owner Doug MacKinlay Cancels Mark Kelly’s Gun Purchase (foxnewsinsider.com)
- Gun Store Owner Sends Gabby Gifford’s Husband Mark Kelly Back Won’t Sell Him Ar-15 (americanfreedombybarbara.com)
- Gun store cancels Mark Kelly’s assault weapon purchase (al.com)
- Tucson Gun Store Owner Cancels Sale Of Mark Kelly’s Assault Rifle Purchase (washington.cbslocal.com)
- Gun Seller Cancels Mark Kelly’s AR-15 Purchase (nbcnewyork.com)
Gabby and Capt. Mark Kelly are the epitome of the term: power couple. Not in the colloquial version of the term but in the literal interpretation. This couple intends to have a voice in the gun control debate. I personally support them and their Americans for Responsible Solutions effort 100%.
- Mark Kelly Testifies At Senate Hearing On Gun Control (huffingtonpost.com)
- Watch: Gabby Giffords Makes Appearance at Gun Control Talks (abcnews.go.com)
- Gabrielle Giffords’s testimony (Photo) (washingtonpost.com)
- Here’s Gabby Giffords’ Moving Testimony Urging Lawmakers To ‘Do Something’ About Gun Violence (businessinsider.com)
- Conservatives Outraged Because Gabby Giffords Did Not Hand-Write Her Senate Testimony (mediaite.com)
- Gabby Giffords testifying at gun-control hearing (bazaardaily.com)
- Viral WaPo photo of ‘Gabrielle Giffords’s handwritten testimony’ actually written by her therapist (twitchy.com)
- VIDEO: Gabby Giffords’ Moving Call for Congress to Act on Gun Control (themoderatevoice.com)
- Michelle Malkin Fights For Truth: Can Gun-Grabber Gabby Giffords Even Write Stuff? (wonkette.com)
What Gabby Said
Former Rep. Gabby Giffords was shot in the head two years ago this month in a shooting that also left six of her constituents dead, including a nine year-old girl. In the wake of the Newtown gun massacre, Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, founded Americans for Responsible Solutions, a group that “will encourage elected officials to stand up for solutions to prevent gun violence and protect responsible gun ownership.”
Today the Senate Senate Judiciary Committee, which is expected to begin formal work on a gun violence prevention bill in the next month, held a hearing that opened with a statement from Giffords. Giffords told the senators that “the time is now,” they “must act,” and must “be bold.”
Watch Giffords challenge senators to deal with America’s gun violence epidemic:
Giffords’ handwritten testimony:
BOTTOM LINE: Gabby Giffords is right. Americans are counting on our political leaders to summon the courage to take commonsense steps to address the gun violence epidemic that results in 33 Americans being murdered each and every day.
The study the NRA’s top Washington lobbyist hopes you won’t actually look up.
Teenager who performed at the Inauguration last week was gunned down yesterday in Chicago.
Senator catches the NRA’s top Washington lobbyist in an epic flip-flop on background checks.
GOP senator: people need to arm themselves because GOP-forced budget cuts will mean fewer cops.
Missouri bill would force all first-graders to take NRA-sponsored gun class.
Communism, polygamy, and human cloning are more popular than NRA lobbyists’ position on gun violence.
Republican witness claims mothers need an AR-15 assault rifle to defend their children.
Meet the nine year-old girl who would likely still be alive today if high-capacity magazines were illegal.
Another shooting happened as the Senate held its hearing on gun violence.
- Giffords Speaks at Senate Gun Hearing (huffingtonpost.com)
- Giffords pleads for gun curbs; NRA fights back (cnsnews.com)
- Mayors Against Illegal Guns: Gabrielle On The Hill (theobamacrat.com)
- Former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords expected to testify today at Senate hearing on gun violence – @washingtonpost (washingtonpost.com)
- Transcript: Giffords ‘Too many children are dying’ (bazaardaily.com)
Gabby Gifford’s compelling statement in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on gun violence, today:
- Gabby Giffords: ‘Too many children are dying. We must do something.’ (dailykos.com)
- Gabrielle Giffords to testify at gun hearing (wjla.com)
- Gabrielle Giffords vs. Wayne LaPierre at Senate gun violence hearing (dailykos.com)
- Gabby Giffords’s opening statement (transcript, video) (washingtonpost.com)
- Former Rep. Gabby Giffords calls on Senate pass gun control legislation (redalertpolitics.com)
- Aide: Gabrielle Giffords to testify at gun hearing (kansascity.com)