Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly take action to reduce gun violence

Gabby Giffords' ongoing recovery has been an inspiration to the nation. Hearty cheers to her and her husband for taking action. Key quote from their op-ed, all of which you should read:
In response to a horrific series of shootings that has sown terror in our communities, victimized tens of thousands of Americans, and left one of its own bleeding and near death in a Tucson parking lot, Congress has done something quite extraordinary — nothing at all.
- promoted by david

Two years ago today, I wrote this post:

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Democrat from AZ-08, shot in Tucson

Today, Gabby and her husband, Mark Kelly, have written an op-ed in the USA Today, outlining their plans to fight back against gun violence.  See the full article here:

Giffords and Kelly: Fighting gun violence

In it, they announce the formation of a new group to try and counter the NRA, Americans for Responsible Solutions.  I’ve clicked through to their page, joined the mailing list, liked them on Facebook, and I’ll be donating once I’m done paying my bills this week.  Please consider doing the same, thanks for reading!




Recommended by jasiu, jeremy-marin, mike_cote, amberpaw.


20 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Fine start, not so sure about the name

    This isn’t an issue of responsibility so much as one of security and freedom. The NRA is a small group of dangerous extremists who are terrorizing the country. To make America safe and preserve our freedom military weapons should be limited to the army. That applies to the Newtown massacre weapons as much as to rocket-propelled grenades and F-15s. That is the responsible thing to do, but it is also the best way to protect our national security and our individual freedom.

  2. What they (and we) are up against

    Check out this video of the guy who started the “petition” to deport Piers Morgan because of his views on gun control. If early reports of the Vice President’s commission’s recommendations are close to accurate, get ready to hear a lot more of this kind of thing.

  3. Not thrilled

    There is a place for an organization like this, but from what they have put out, it doesn’t seem to indicate that they want serious gun control.

    “Common sense” and “reasonable” are pretty much the lamest words in politics. I see this as a centrist group battling to neutralize an extreme right group. Sure, that is good, but it likely doesn’t get us anywhere where we need to be. And why would I give them money if I want more serious gun control if they aren’t going to advocate for it? It’s like the Third Way.

    If the President is successful in getting an assault weapons ban re-up (I think this is likely), tougher background checks (somewhat less likely), something related to mental health (I’m scared at what could come out for this), and a national gun sale registry (I think this is unlikely), what is the Giffords group going to be advocating for then? We still need much more.

    I think the left needs a real counterbalance to the NRA, but instead we have a number of groups doing similar work and not combining to provide anywhere near the same level of power.

    Despite the hope that we will get some gun control soon (there does seem to be a national shift), I’ve been quite disappointed about the proposals discussed at the national level (and here in MA with Murray and Deleo’s weak agenda). They are too focused on trying to prevent the next Newtown rather than trying to prevent the next shooting in Mattapan (or Chicago, or NOLA, or wherever), the next domestic dispute turned fatal, the next vigilante killing, or the next suicide by gun (haven’t really heard that come up much at all from any of our “leaders”). I think this is the time that something can be done, but all we’re likely to get is a return to the Clinton days. But, I guess that’s the same as what’s trying to happen fiscally as well. It’s sad.

    • There simply can't be a counter to the NRA

      I think the left needs a real counterbalance to the NRA, but instead we have a number of groups doing similar work and not combining to provide anywhere near the same level of power.

      Can’t happen. The NRA has a few million Americans who own guns, love their guns, and have bought into NRA hype. They have “skin” in the game in a very direct sense — their ownership and use of various guns. The other side — folks who want gun restrictions — don’t have the same kind of skin in the game unless they or a very close relation has been shot.

      The asymmetry is important, and its not limited to guns. It shows up in environmental issues all the time (it’s worth a lot to a small number of folks to pollute, but worth rather little for each of the rest of us), and I’m sure in other ways too.

      The only way the asymmetry is fixed is either (a) because the politicians themselves think its important irrespective of the citizenry’s membership in political interest groups, or (b) a substantial and vocal majority demand coherent action. Methinks one of those two things is necessary, though not sufficient.

      Personally, I’d like to see NJ, NY, CT, and MA get together and try to find gun policies which they can each implement in tandem. There are lots of different moving parts (mental health, insurance, equipment restrictions, registration policies, etc). If those four states found some things to improve and harmonize on, it would be easier for other states to follow the lead, or do something close to it. The bobbleheads on teevee need specific examples to point to at the state level, and liberal states should work on providing them the examples.

      • The other side — folks who want gun restrictions — don’t have the same kind of skin in the game unless they or a very close relation has been shot.

        This is an ever-growing list of people. I lost two cousins who were shot and killed and I’m pissed about this issue.

      • "The NRA has a few million Americans who own guns, love their guns, and have bought into NRA hype."

        Actually, there’s evidence that the general membership of the NRA is far more reasonable when it comes to gun restrictions than the organization’s leadership. That’s part of why the debate has gotten so off-track: the NRA has successfully sold Congress and the media on the notion that there are millions of Americans who are lining up behind Wayne LaPierre’s views, when in fact that is likely not the case.

        • The NRA has been crazy for years

          if members haven’t figured that out by now, then they’re either in denial, daft, or really really not paying attention. Hell, Charlton Heston’s December 1997 speech — a prototypical angry white Christian man speech, you know how they’re the victim, yadda yadda. It got tons of media precisely because it made disparaging remarks about women, blacks, gays, and trivialized the Holocaust.

          The NRA has been crazytown for decades, and anybody who sends them a check once a year and hasn’t noticed that… I’m not really sure what the story is.

          • "...or really really not paying attention"

            Bingo. How many AARP members can explain AARP’s positions on Social Security and Medicare reform? How many AAA members join for the road service, and don’t even know AAA is a lobbying group, much less what they lobby for?

            • I have an off-topic comment

              In case anyone doesn’t already know, AARP also offers a road-service plan that is as good as, and much cheaper than AAA. If you’re over 50 and have or want a road-service plan, you could save some money. And AARP does not lobby for more auto use.

        • Just so

          The money behind the NRA is manufacturers. The AR-15 is a huge seller, because it is extremely customizable, and depending on how it is configured, can look like something that is actually used in hunting, or more like something used by the guys in Seal Team Six.

          The manufacturing interests get the members fired up (and, oh by the way to buy more AR-15s) by convincing them that the gun-control lobby is “coming to take your guns.” This effort has been greatly aided during the last 40 years by the left*, which has held the position, rather explicitly, that “we want to take your guns.”

          In this context, “reasonable” restrictions– licensing, in particular– is easily characterized as an interim step toward outright confiscation. Members therefore buy what the NRA is selling (and the manufacturers as well, of course). I therefore do not think that any new policy that has political staying-power AND has any chance of actually accomplishing anything can come from anywhere but the center/right, with the help of the center/left. Unfortunately, our present political circumstances have marginalized the center to the point where it does not command sufficient power to acheive anything. I am therefore pessimistic that there willl be any meaningful and effective legislation from the federal government in the near future.

          * I say “left” rather than “liberal” because this is the position held by the left wing, but I do not think gun control tends to fit very nicely, ideologically, into the liberal-conservative spectrum.

          • By any rational standard of thought

            A ban on private ownership of assault weapons and the private sale or ownership of armor-piercing bullets makes sense to me. Closing the gun-show background check loophole make sense to me. That is not even close to wanting to take away everyone’s guns. And pretending it is for your own political and financial advantage does not impress me one iota.

            I have not seen any convincing data that putting more guns into the mix will make us safer. Every data point I’ve seen shows that more guns correlates with more gun-related violence. I am well aware that correlation is not causation, but there is no way anyone can convincingly argue to me that more guns will improve safety given that there I have seen ZERO data that even correlates that way. Period.

            However, I’m also aware that it is impossible to try to have a rational argument about this topic in this country. It is extremely unfortunate that as far as I can see, the only way to counter the power and hysteria of the take-your-hands-off-my-guns lobby would be with countervailing political/marketing actions that taps into people’s emotions and fears on the other side.

      • Mostly true

        The real issue with the NRA is that it is funded by business (i.e., manufacturers) and yet is supported by its members. That makes it a very potent political power, which is not exactly news.

        It is a shame that “centrist” groups like this are immediately dismissed because they “aren’t serious” because it seems to me that they are the only ones who actually are serious, in that they are the only ones who want to consider what might be politically possible, AND effective.

        As it stands, I am increasingly pessimistic that anything will change at all in the wake of Sandy Hook. I think it most likely that (i) liberal Democrats in “safe” seats will propose things that people here will consider “serious” but have no chance of enactment; (ii) a small number of purple-seat Republicans will take a position (like the one above) that people here will consider “not serious” but won’t suffer for it much; (iii) purple-seat Democrats, if they take any position at all, will be associated with the “serious” position, and will lose some gun-owners from their own voters; and (iv) safe-seat right wingers will take some position that is truly not serious, but also has no chance of enactment. End result: status quo ante.

        At the state level, some states that already have strict gun control will make their regulations even more strict. Some of these new regs will falter in the courts under the recent 2nd Amendment cases. Some won’t. Most will be ineffective in the sense that they will, like previous attempts, ban irrelevant cosmetic things, or enact restrictions that are easily evaded, resulting not in prevention, but in something else to charge the guy with that you failed to prevent from commiting a horrifying crime. End result: status quo ante.

        Really, the best suggestion I have seen anywhere over the last few months exists in your last paragraph.

        • Not dismissing

          I was not dismissing them, I was pointing out that I do not think that this is the best type of group for strong gun control advocates to put their faith in. I was using “serious” to refer to strong gun control, not to refer to what might be politically possible.

          My problem with a centrist gun control group is that once they get centrist policies enacted, what do they advocate for? I feel the same way about most centrist groups on other topics.

          Advocacy groups and legislators should advocate and negotiate for what they believe are the best policies and try to have things that become law fall closer to their position than the other side’s. This is similar to what happened with health care. There were advocates on the left who wanted single-payer or at least a public option. They got what they could during negotiations and ultimately voted for the ACA. I think they will do the same here. Unfortunately, such compromisers are really only on the Democratic side of the aisle these days.

          I think what we get here is a set of proposals coming from the WH that will start with a pretty strong assault weapons ban and magazine capacity limit, stronger background checks, increased ATF funding and powers, a national gun sale registry, and something related to mental illness. All of these will get littered with loopholes and watered down in other ways so that we will likely only get a weakened assault weapon ban, a somewhat stronger background check mechanism than what we currently have, and increased ATF funding. The Senate’s bill will be stronger, but will get further torn up. The law might work a little bit, but I don’t think they will bring us all that close to where we need to be. Almost all Democrats (including liberal Dems who would support a repeal of the Second Amendment) will support the final bill and almost no Republicans will.

          The ultimate law should be much closer to the WH’s initial proposals, but we won’t get there because it will never be tested. In the current Congress, when the starting point is the middle, the only way to go is to the right. It’s a consistent and disappointing trend I have seen with this administration and it seems like something reflected in Giffords’ organization. Sure, we’re moving in the right direction, but we could possibly be going significantly further.

    • They come from a gun oriented culture

      and that is why they have an opportunity to make changes. Anyone who thinks that massive changes will be done in this Congress is very mistaken ( and fails to understand that the process for passing legislation was designed to discourage emotional legislative action and encourage deliberation and compromise) However, achieving even basic changes is a good beginning. And that change won’t come from an initative generated by progressives. It will come from inside the gun culture with support from people whose website offers this type of statement:

      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. 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.

  4. Just joined

    Personally curious as to which will generate more email notices.
    1) Americans for Responsible Solutions
    2) Huffington Post

  5. The other "centrist" group

    that might be very sympathetic to this particular cause are those who have experience with actual military weapons– Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. This group would also be a potent counter to the NRA because it would carry some street cred on the right.

  6. Meanwhile, another shooting at a school

    This time a student at Taft High School in California’s Kern County apparently shot two people. Not sure what kind of weapon used or if anyone was killed. Student/shooter reported to be in custody.

    • It'll keep happening

      And from the looks of it the Biden group will be making a case for legislation stronger than the Brady Bill. So thats good. I’m still wondering if we couldn’t pass a ‘Chris Rock tax’ on the ammo and if that would be easier to enforce.

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Tue 28 Mar 11:52 AM