Former U.S. Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly have a big announcement to make. The national figures have chosen to take their careers in a new direction, but one that seems incredibly fitting. Today, they announced a new campaign to combat the gun rights lobby in our government and to look for solutions to gun violence. And I just have to say that as a parent, I’m thankful to this extraordinary couple for stepping forward and taking the lead on such an important political issue in our country.
Until now, the gun lobby’s political contributions, advertising and lobbying have dwarfed spending from anti-gun violence groups. No longer. With Americans for Responsible Solutions engaging millions of people about ways to reduce gun violence and funding political activity nationwide, legislators will no longer have reason to fear the gun lobby. Other efforts such as improving mental health care and opposing illegal guns are essential, but as gun owners and survivors of gun violence, we have a unique message for Americans.
We have experienced too much death and hurt to remain idle. Our response to the Newtown massacre must consist of more than regret, sorrow and condolence. The children of Sandy Hook Elementary School and all victims of gun violence deserve fellow citizens and leaders who have the will to prevent gun violence in the future.
In their piece, Giffords and Kelly both note that they are gun owners themselves, with two guns locked at home in their gun safe. They aren’t looking to take away firearms from safe, law-abiding citizens. But they are calling for common sense regulations that even many NRA members have been known to support, such as backround checks for all gun purchases and bans on assault weapons or extended ammunition.
It is impossible to forget the shooting that nearly cost Gabby Giffords her life. A man with a gun attacked a public meet-and-greet that the Congresswoman was holding at a local grocery store. When we think of the Arizona shooting, we think of Gabby. But I also remember a little girl, Christina Taylor-Green. She had been born on 9/11. She was interested in politics. She lost her life that day, another child taken from her parents much too soon.
After Christina’s death but before Gabby’s miraculous recovery, President Obama called on the American people and the US government to be the inspirational figure little Christina saw us as. He wanted us to live up to her dreams. But then, after that tear-jerking speech, we all forgot about gun violence. We forgot until the next tragedy rolled around.
Now, we’ve seen dozens more children killed by gun violence. We’ve seen the massacre at Newtown and the horror at Aurora. The President has finally called for a serious conversation about gun control.
He’s getting back-up. Gabby Giffords and her husband have the notoriety and the determination to give the President the support he needs. Hopefully, they have the ability to push through real reforms that will make our children safer. Parents who have been looking for a strong voice to lead the call for gun control, you might have just found it.