Two years after the Tucson, Arizona, shootings that critically injured former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, she and her husband are adding their voices to a movement for gun control.
Big-city mayors are marking the anniversary with a TV ad tailored for the Washington market and communities that have suffered mass shootings featuring the mother of a 9-year-old girl killed in the Tucson shootings.
“Enough,” Giffords says in an interview on ABC”s “World News with Diane Sawyer” airing tonight.
“After the shooting in Tucson, there was talk about addressing some of these issues, [and] again after [a movie theater massacre in] Aurora,” Colorado, her husband Mark Kelly, the astronaut, says in an interview also following the Dec. 14 killings of 20 young schoolchildren and six educators in Newtown, Connecticut. “I’m hopeful that this time is different, and I think it is. Twenty first-graders’ being murdered in their classrooms is a very personal thing for everybody.”
Gifffords and Kelly visited Newtown to meet with families of the victims.
The “first couple that we spoke to, the dad took out his cell phone and showed us a picture of his daughter and I just about lost it, just by looking at the picture,” Kelly says in the interview, excerpts released by ABC. “It was just very tough and it brought back a lot of memories about what that was like for us some two years ago.”
Giffords and Kelly are proposing “common sense” changes through “Americans for Responsible Solutions.” They propose a comprehensive background check for the private sale of firearms and controls on large magazines of ammunition.
Jared Loughner, the accused shooter in Tucson, used a magazine with 33 rounds. Adam Lanza, the Newtown shooter who also killed his mother and himself, used numerous 30-round magazines in a Bushmaster AR-15.
Mayors Against Illegal Guns today released a new TV ad featuring Roxanna Green, mother of Christina-Taylor Green, the 9-year-old killed in Tucson. It opens with a scene from the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. In the ad, Green demands that elected officials in Washington take immediate action to curb gun violence in America.
“I have one question for our political leaders,” Green says in the ad. “When will you find the courage to stand up to the gun lobby? Whose child has to die next?”
The ad is airing on Washington, DC, cable through Jan. 14, the group says, and in markets where there have been mass shootings: Tucson, Waco, Texas, Roanoke, Denver, Binghamton, N.Y., and Milwaukee.
“How many more children must die before Washington does something to end our gun violence problem?” New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, co-chair of the mayors’ group and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, says in a statement accompanying the ad’s release.
“Roxanna Green knows all too well the pain of losing a loved one gun violence – sadly, there are parents and siblings and friends who learn this every day in our country,” says co-chair Thomas Menino, mayor of Boston. “It’s time for Washington to act to reduce gun violence — for the 33 Americans that are killed every day and for all of our children.”
President Barack Obama has charged Vice President Joe Biden with assembling an agenda for legislative action following the Newtown shootings, asking for those goals by the end of this month.
The National Rifle Association has proposed stationing an armed guard at every school.
“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” said Wayne LaPierre, NRA executive vice president, urging Congress after the Newtown shootings “to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every single school in this nation.”
“I bought a gun at Walmart recently and I went through a background check,” Kelly says in the ABC interview. “”Why can’t we just do that and make it more difficult for criminals and the mentally ill to get guns?”
Giffords has undergone a long and arduous recovery aided by physical therapy, speech therapy and yoga. She has been able to ride a horse and is preparing for a tandem bicycle ride with her husband, a space shuttle pilot. She plans to apply the same resolve toward the mission of gun control, Kelly says. “Gabby works very hard in her rehab,” he says. “Now we intend to work very hard on this new project.”