Injured ex-Congresswoman launches US gun control drive

Last Updated: Wed, Jan 09, 2013 06:30 hrs

Washington, Jan 9 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Former US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was injured in a mass shooting, has launched a high-profile campaign against gun violence in America.

Giffords launched her campaign Tuesday on the second anniversary of the shooting in Tucson in Arizona that left six people dead and critically injured her.

"In response to a horrific series of shootings that has sown terror in our communities, victimised tens of thousands of Americans, and left one of its own bleeding and near death in a Tucson parking lot, Congress has done something quite extraordinary - nothing at all," Giffords and her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, said in an op-ed published in 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. As a result, we are more vulnerable to gun violence," they added.

The husband-wife team announced their new "Americans for Responsible Solutions" initiative, which aims to raise money to balance the influence of the powerful pro-gun lobbying group the National Rifle Association and others in the gun industry.

Giffords and Kelly had an emotional meeting with family members of those killed in the December shooting. Twenty children and six adults were shot dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

"We can't just hope that the last shooting tragedy will prevent the next," they said.

"Achieving reforms to reduce gun violence and prevent mass shootings will mean matching gun lobbyists in their reach and resources."

The couple is pushing for comprehensive background checks for anyone purchasing private firearms, and more effective treatment for those who are mentally ill.

"I bought a gun at Walmart recently and I went through a background check. It's not a difficult thing to do," Kelly told ABC News.

"Why can't we just do that and make it more difficult for criminals and the mentally ill to get guns?"

"America has seen an astounding 11 mass shootings since a madman used a semiautomatic pistol with an extended ammunition clip to shoot me and kill six others," Giffords wrote.

"This country is known for using its determination and ingenuity to solve problems, big and small...

"But when it comes to protecting our communities from gun violence, we're not even trying - and for the worst of reasons."

--IANS/RIA Novosti


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