While each new year gives most of us a clean slate, it reminds former Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) of the horrific thing that happened to her and many other Tucsonans on January 8, 2011. The Democrat, who resigned from Congress a year after the Tucson shooting massacre that left her with severe head injuries and eyesight problems, took a stand against gun violence on the two-year anniversary of the traumatic incident by publishing a USA Today column with husband Mark Kelly about their new campaign to prevent arms violence.
"Americans for Responsible Solutions, which we are launching today, will invite people from around the country to join a national conversation about gun violence prevention, will raise the funds necessary to balance the influence of the gun lobby, and will line up squarely behind leaders who will stand up for what's right," the couple wrote, adding that they're not at all looking to ban guns, but to make our country a safer place for everyone.
"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," the former astronaut and politician went on. "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."
Their new anti-gun efforts come in the wake of December's unspeakably awful Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre, which left 20 children and seven adults (including the gunman) fatally shot. The Newtown tragedy was far from the only shooting we've had in recent years. Giffords and Kellycontinue on the Americans for Responsible Solutions website, "Two years ago, a mentally ill young man shot me in the head, killed six of my constituents, and wounded 12 others. Since that terrible day, America has seen 11 more mass shootings – but no response from Congress to prevent gun violence. After the massacre of 20 children and six of their teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary though, it’s clear: This time must be different."
It seems Giffords and Kelly's goal for 2013 is to do everything in their power to actively fight senseless gun violence. On January 2, they met with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who called on President Barack Obama to take "immediate action" following the Sandy Hook tragedy last month, to discuss gun-control legislation. On the same day that Giffords and Kelly launched Americans for Responsible Solutions, Bloomberg released a TV ad featuring Roxanna Green, who lost her 9-year-old daughter Christina-Taylor in the Tucson shooting:
“How many more children must die before Washington does something to end our gun violence problem?” Bloomberg, the co-chair of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, said. “We need political leaders to hear Roxanna loud and clear: we cannot wait any longer for you to do something about gun violence. Another child should not have to die.”
Bloomberg also tweeted about the Tucson tragedy on the two-year anniversary, asking his followers to #DemandAPlan to prevent more of these terrible events from happening. Giffords and Kelly's new campaign, which already has more than 30,000 Facebook fans, could be part of the solution.