As part of her seven-state “Rights and Responsibilities” tour, former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords appeared at a gun range in Las Vegas and fired a weapon for the first time since she was shot in the head more than two years ago. The image is poignant, and even slightly unsettling, but serves a larger purpose: Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, firearm owners before and after she became a victim of gun violence herself, are out to prove that common-sense gun control and the Second Amendment can co-exist. As a spokeswoman for this concept, Giffords should be all but unassailable.
“Some might consider me an unlikely advocate for gun rights because I sustained terrible injuries in a violent shooting. But I’m a patriot, and I believe the right to bear arms is a definitive part of our American heritage,” she writes in a USA Today op-ed explaining the tour and encouraging the expansion of background checks. “But when children are gunned down in their classrooms, when families are slaughtered at a movie theater, when a little girl dreaming of running for office is shot dead standing next to me in a grocery store parking lot, we have to admit what we’re doing is not enough. We’ve all got to do more to reduce gun violence.”