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Giffords: 'Too dangerous to wait' on gun control

LAST UPDATED: 01:34 p.m. HST, Jan 27, 2014

BOSTON >> On the eve of President Barack Obama's State of the Union address, former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords is challenging Washington leaders not to ignore gun violence.

The former Democratic congresswoman is featured in a new television ad set to air immediately before and after the president's speech. In the ad, Giffords faces the camera and says, "Congress is afraid of the gun lobby."

"Tell Washington it's too dangerous to wait," she says in a slightly slurred voice.

Giffords, 43, is still recovering from a brain injury suffered in 2011 when a mentally ill man shot her in the head as she met with constituents outside an Arizona shopping center. Six people were killed in the attack.

Obama is not expected to make any new gun control push in this year's speech after making it the emotional highlight of last year's address.

Giffords was first lady Michelle Obama's guest last year, when the president repeatedly declared that victims of gun violence -- Giffords and Newtown, Conn., school children among them -- deserved a congressional vote on legislation expanding background checks for gun sales. Such a proposal was subsequently voted down in the Democratic-led Senate and never brought to a vote in the Republican-controlled House.

In the new ad, Giffords says that 9 out 10 Americans support background checks. 

"They make it harder for criminals and the mentally ill to get guns," she says.

The ad is part of a national cable advertising campaign set to run nationwide on CNN and MSNBC. It's being paid for by Americans for Responsible Solutions, the group Giffords founded with her husband, retired NASA space shuttle commander Mark Kelly. 

A spokesperson said the group is targeting the commercial breaks immediately before and after Obama's speech. Targeted television advertising is sometimes more expensive.

The organization has raised millions of dollars to help influence the gun control debate ahead of the 2014 midterm elections.

As part of a larger effort to work around Congress, Giffords and Kelly are scheduled to appear before the Washington State legislature on Tuesday, hours before Obama's speech. They plan to testify in favor of a state initiative to expand background checks -- just the second time Giffords has testified before a legislative panel since her shooting.

White House spokesman Jay Carney on Monday declined to comment on whether the president would address gun control in his speech, but said, "The president's commitment to taking common sense steps to reduce gun violence remains very strong."

Carney said Obama "is very disappointed by Congress' failure to heed the will of the overwhelming majority of the American people in blue states and red states and purple states to expand background checks. But he committed then and he remains committed now to taking action where he can to reducing gun violence."

Kelly called the inaction on Capitol Hill "remarkable."

"Congress has done nothing because many politicians are listening to the gun lobby when they should be listening to their constituents," he said.


Associated Press writer Nedra Pickler in Washington contributed to this report.


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eoe wrote:
Don't waste your time Gabby. We in America are willing to throw trillions of dollars and the entire bill or rights (except for of course the second amendment) out the window when terrorists kill 3000 Americans, but when that ten times that number of Americans are being killed by guns in a year our hands our tied - no common sense background checks, no gun show loopholes being closed, no regulation of ammunition, no nothing.
on January 27,2014 | 12:05PM
catii wrote:
Good grief! Does she really think that criminals go out & buy their guns from dealers? If Congress would just legislate that if someone commits a crime with a gun, it's mandatory prison time, we'd see an immediate drop in gun-related deaths.
on January 27,2014 | 12:30PM
eoe wrote:
Yes they do. They are called straw men. Thats where most guns come from. For example you live in Chicago which has strict gun laws. Some guy with a clean record goes to Indiana and buys 50 guns and 40,000 rounds of ammunition and sells them straight to gangs. And of course everybody (NRA, gun shop, gun manufacturer) knows this is happening but of course limiting # of gun purchases or ammunition is "the third rail."
on January 27,2014 | 12:47PM
Dolphin743 wrote:
The straw man purchase scheme is already illegal in various ways as are the crimes that are committed with guns. How many layers of illegality do you need to create to solve a problem? Will one more make a difference? Each law that takes away rights from the vast majority of law-abiding citizens only passes additional power to the government. In this case it also passes more power to criminals, since they are already breaking the law when they commit a crime with a gun...It's just one more charge to them. For comparison, there are somewhere around 100 million citizens who own or have access to guns at home in the country. The number of criminals who use guns in a crime is somewhere between 0.01 and 0.1 percent of that total. Seems like overkill to say the problem is all about the fact that privately held guns exist in our country.
on January 27,2014 | 03:15PM
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