Giffords visits Minnesota to launch coalition to help prevent gun violence


Former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords came to Minnesota Thursday to launch a new coalition to help prevent gun violence.

At Augsburg College – the first of three events on Thursday – Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly announced the Minnesota Coalition for Common Sense.

The bipartisan coalition will work to close the loopholes in the state's firearm laws by expanding background checks to private sales, online and at gun shows, and improve the state's submissions to the federal government's background system, The Associated Press reports.

"Stopping gun violence takes courage, the courage to do what’s right, the courage of new ideas," Giffords said Thursday, according to WCCO. "I’ve seen great courage when my life was on the line. Now is the time to come together, be responsible. Democrats, Republicans, everyone. We must never stop fighting."

Since Giffords was shot in the head in 2011, she and her husband – both gun owners and supporters of the Second Amendment – have used their organization, Americans for Responsible Solutions, to encourage lawmakers nationwide to work to find solutions to prevent gun violence, while protecting responsible gun ownership.

Through their national efforts, Giffords and Kelly have started launching state-based organizations – Minnesota is the third state, behind New Hampshire and Oregon.

Minnesota's coalition includes gun owners, former and current law enforcement officials, community advocates and prosecutors, WCCO reports. So far, two people have registered as lobbyists for the group, records show.

"Gabby Giffords is someone who was personally affected by that, but also supports persons' rights to have a gun, as do many of us," State Rep. Kim Norton, DFL-Rochester, told KIMT. "It's not one or the other, there's a middle place that we can reach that citizens will support, and I think that's what she's trying to do."

Norton recently unveiled a comprehensive gun safety bill for the 2016 Legislature, which convenes March 8.

Giffords will make a few other stops in the Twin Cities Thursday, including a roundtable discussion on reducing gun violence and she'll visit an indoor shooting range, FOX 9 reports.

Next Up