Gabrielle Giffords holds Raleigh gun control rally

Former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly visit Raleigh.
July 6, 2013 9:00:00 PM PDT
Former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband visited Raleigh Sunday on a nationwide tour to highlight ways they believe tougher laws can reduce gun violence.

Giffords was injured in January 2011 when a mentally ill man opened fire at an outdoor constituent event in Tucson, Ariz. Six people were killed, and 13, including Giffords, were injured. She and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, are the co-founders of the gun violence prevention group Americans for Responsible Solutions.

Sunday, they held an event at The Pit barbeque to discuss ways that they say increased gun controls can coexist with the Second Amendment and the right of Americans to own guns.

"Fight, fight, fight, be bold, be courageous, the nation is counting on you," Giffords told the crowd.

Mark Kelly said the shooting of his wife is not the reason they'll seeking tougher gun controls - it's the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown.

"We need to do a better job keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, the dangerously mentally ill, the way we do that is we expand background checks to gun shows, private sales and internet sales," he said.

North Carolina was the seventh, and last, state on their tour. They chose states with senators who voted in favor or against the Manchin-Toomey gun amendment, which would have required background checks on all commercial sales of guns, including gun shows and on the internet.

It failed to get enough votes. In North Carolina, our senators were split. The main push for the Giffords - Kelly visit to Raleigh was to lobby for improved background checks, but not all agree.

"What she's asking for is private sale ban, wants to force every single firearm sale to go through a federal firearms licensing, which creates a de facto gun registry, and we don't want any part of that," said Sean Sorrentino with Grassroots North Carolina.

But Kelly disagrees with the idea that small changes in gun laws will lead to bigger ones.

"They're concerned about what they say is a slippery slope, which I don't believe exists in Washington, where it's impossible to get anything done," he offered.

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