Posted by AzBlueMeanie
Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords penned an op-ed in the New York Daily News Sunday urging Congress to pass universal background check legislation. Gabby Giffords: Join the fight for safer U.S.:
We're all used to hearing people say that patience is a virtue.
I think about patience every day as I continue to regain my speech and
the mobility I lost after I was shot in the head two years ago, while
meeting with my constituents in the parking lot of grocery store in my
I think about patience and determination, because I still wake up every day wanting to make the world a better place.
But lately I’m not feeling too patient toward senators and
representatives who are listening to the misinformation that’s out there
about universal background checks instead of to their constituents, and
saying they may not support common sense solutions to ending gun
What are they waiting for? Ninety percent of Americans support
universal background checks, which will be debated soon. Seventy-four
percent of NRA members support background checks. Seventy-two percent of
hunters support background checks, the Bull Moose Society reported this
week. I can’t remember a time when this many Americans spoke with such a
united voice in favor of anything.
And yet, some leaders are suggesting they might not listen to our
voices. They repeat old scare tactics, like that there will be a gun
registry that could take our guns away from us. My husband Mark and I
are gun owners, and we know that’s not true. The Bull Moose Society said
clearly that universal background checks “do not and will not create a
What they will do is create one fair system for all gun buyers, instead
of the giant loophole we have now. Right now, we have one system where
responsible gun owners take a background check — my husband, Mark, took
one just last month, and it took 5 minutes and 36 seconds. I remember
waiting a lot longer than that for the subway to take me to my office
when I lived in New York City! And then we have a second system for
those who don’t want to take a background check. Those people —
criminals, or people suffering from mental illness, like the young man
who shot me — can buy as many guns as they want on the Internet or at a
gun show, no questions asked.
That doesn’t make sense. We know how to fix it — by establishing a
universal background check system. And yet some of our elected officials
are not listening. Some even say this legislation shouldn’t get a vote
in the United States Congress.
That’s not right. I served in Congress, and I know my colleagues know
better. Passing background checks legislation will show the American
people that we hear them — that we’re serious about helping them keep
their families safer — and that we’re focused on solutions to this
overwhelming problem of gun violence. I’ve heard some, like the NRA
leadership, throw up their hands and say we should do nothing, because
we know that no one thing will solve this problem overnight.
That doesn’t make any sense at all. Almost nothing is ever achieved
overnight. If I had thought about that, I would still be sitting in a
hospital bed. But I’m not. I’m working every day, on my own recovery and
on my mission to make this country a safer place.
I had to learn to walk again. I had to learn to write and use my iPad
with my left hand. I’m still working on regaining my speech; I work
every day to get more words back.
Determination guides me every day. And we need to be determined too.
Determined to pass background checks legislation — to make it harder for
criminals and the dangerously mentally ill to get deadly weapons in the
And we need to work on our mental health system, too — to help people
stay healthy and get the help they need. And we need to address the
issue of high-capacity magazines and military assault-style weapons —
equipment designed to kill a lot of people in a short period of time.
We will only make big progress towards our goal of dramatically
reducing gun violence when we have the determination to take bold steps,
one after another, to keep our communities safer.
My recovery is living proof that taking one step after another yields
big results. And I know that the parents and families of those 20
children killed in their classrooms in Newtown get up every day, knowing
their children are gone, and have to take one step after another to
Passing background checks legislation will show the country that we are
as strong and resilient and determined as our Founding Fathers hoped we
would be — and that we are on the path to having a safer country with
strong and honored Second Amendment rights.
A little girl, Christina Taylor-Green, who was born on Sept. 11, 2001,
had come to the supermarket to meet me that day two years ago. Christina
was 9, and had just been elected to the student council at her school. I
never got a chance to meet Christina, because she was killed in the
hail of bullets that morning. But if I had, I would have told her the
most important thing a politician can do is listen to the will of their
The will of the American people is clear, but our patience is wearing
thin. Congress must not fail us. Congress must pass background checks
now — to put us on the road to a safer country. Join me at
www.americansforresponsiblesolutions.org to make your voice heard.
Gabrielle Giffords, a former Democratic congresswoman from Arizona,
was severly wounded in a Jan. 8, 2011, shooting in which six people were
killed and more than 12 others were wounded.