Two years ago after being shot in the head by a lunatic would-be assassin, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, both gun owners and supporters of the 2nd Amendment, unveiled an initiative on Tuesday to fight the gun lobby. “Enough,” Giffords told ABC’s Diane Sawyer. Their group, Americans for Responsible Solutions, will engage the public in conversation on gun violence and seek to weaken the NRA’s hold on lawmakers. Here’s some of what they had to say in an op-ed for USA Today..
Special interests purporting to represent gun owners but really advancing the interests of an ideological fringe have used big money and influence to cow Congress into submission. Rather than working to find the balance between our rights and the regulation of a dangerous product, these groups have cast simple protections for our communities as existential threats to individual liberties. Rather than conducting a dialogue, they threaten those who divert from their orthodoxy with political extinction.
As a result, we are more vulnerable to gun violence. Weapons designed for the battlefield have a home in our streets. Criminals and the mentally ill can easily purchase guns by avoiding background checks. Firearm accessories designed for killing at a high rate are legal and widely available. And gun owners are less responsible for the misuse of their weapons than they are for their automobiles.
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.