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

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TUCSON, AZ - MARCH 06: Former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords attends a news conference outside Safeway grocery store where they asked Congress to provide stricter gun control in the United States on March 6, 2013 in Tucson, Arizona. Giffords and Kelly were joined by survivors of the Tucson shooting that took place there two years ago when six people were killed and Giffords herself was shot in the head. (Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)
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.