Gabby Giffords’s Gun Group Helped Bring About Background-Check Deal

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Photo: Joshua Lott/2013 Getty Images

The pro-gun control group Americans for Responsible Solutions isn't claiming any responsibility for the Senate's bipartisan background-check expansion bill, but a Washington Post story on Pat Toomey's involvement reveals that the group founded by Gabby Giffords was instrumental in bringing about the deal. Following meetings in both senators' offices, a staffer from the Giffords group noticed that Toomey and Joe Manchin were in agreement on closing the gun-show loophole and expanding background checks for online sales, and encouraged them to meet. “They really ignited the fire,” said a senior Senate aide. 

The aide heaped more praise on Americans for Responsible Solutions, saying it's uniquely positioned to unite lawmakers from both parties:

“What made the Giffords group effective is that they are in the sweet spot that is not ideologically driven, but instead fact-driven ... Their approach is to come from the middle which allows them to have credibility on both sides. There is no way a far left group will have any influence with Republicans. And a far right group won’t have any influence with Democrats.”

Giffords bringing together two former colleagues on gun violence is definitely more heartwarming than the other behind-the-scenes story, in which Toomey refused to appear at a press conference with Chuck Schumer.