by Greg Campbell
Former Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has taken a page out of Jim Brady’s playbook by announcing her support for gun control measures and has come out swinging against the National Rifle Association.
Giffords was shot in Tucson in 2011 by a deranged gunman named Jared Lee Loughner. In the attack, Giffords was shot in the head and six others were killed. Though she has remained relatively quiet on the subject of gun control since the shooting two years ago, Giffords officially broke her silence in an op-ed for USA Today. She and her husband, Mark Kelly, wrote of the problem of gun violence in America, citing the oft-accepted statistic that 30,000 people die from gun violence each year. However, what Giffords and other gun control proponents don’t often mention is that such numbers include such things as suicides and hunting accidents.
“Special interests purporting to represent gun owners but really advancing the interests of an ideological fringe have used big money and influence to cow Congress into submission. Rather than working to find the balance between our rights and the regulation of a dangerous product, these groups have cast simple protections for our communities as existential threats to individual liberties. Rather than conducting a dialogue, they threaten those who divert from their orthodoxy with political extinction.
As a result, we are more vulnerable to gun violence. Weapons designed for the battlefield have a home in our streets. Criminals and the mentally ill can easily purchase guns by avoiding background checks. Firearm accessories designed for killing at a high rate are legal and widely available. And gun owners are less responsible for the misuse of their weapons than they are for their automobiles.
Forget the boogeyman of big, bad government coming to dispossess you of your firearms. 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.”
While Giffords and Kelly might hope that the majority of NRA members support gun control reform, the evidence does not show it. As the NRA stands up against gun control measures as a solution to gun violence in America, for days after the attack, NRA membership jumped to 8,000 new memberships a day after Newtown and firearm sales are at a record all-time high (especially the so-called “assault rifles”).
If action indicates preference, we can safely conclude that NRA members like the NRA’s holding of the line on gun rights and that Americans are worried that guns and ammo will be scarcer if new gun control measures are enacted.
Giffords and Kelly finished by stating,
“Americans for Responsible Solutions, which we are launching today, will invite people from around the country to join a national conversation about gun violence prevention, will raise the funds necessary to balance the influence of the gun lobby, and will line up squarely behind leaders who will stand up for what’s right.
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.”
Like Jim Brady before her, Giffords is attempting to curb the influence of the NRA and other pro-Second Amendment organizations. She even calls gun control “anti-gun violence”- as if there are a variety of “pro-gun violence” groups.
While what has occurred at Newtown and to Mrs. Giffords herself is tragic, statistical analysis does not support the conclusion that gun control measures equal less violence or create safer atmospheres. In fact, in addition to the numbers, empirical evidence supports the contrary- that cities like Chicago, Newark, Washington D.C. and various other cities with strong gun control laws suffer epidemics of gun violence that cities of comparable sizes in Florida and Texas do not.