Former U.S. Representative Gabby Giffords is scheduled to attend a gun show in Saratoga Springs, NY this Sunday. This will mark her first visit to such an event since surviving an assassination attempt in January of 2011.
Giffords and former astronaut and combat pilot husband, Mark Kelly, have set off on a national campaign that calls for expanded background checks on all gun sales. This stop, to the Sarasota Springs Arms Fair, is said to focus on a voluntary agreement that will lead to strictly enforced state gun control laws.
On Saturday the couple will be appearing at Rochester Institute of Technology in Henrietta, NY. Giffords and Kelly will be speaking with students, RIT staff, and invited guests during the school’s homecoming weekend.. The speech, entitles “Endeavor to Succeed” is all about perseverance and how to manage difficult situations.
And Giffords is a prime example of both. Back in January of 2011, Giffords, then a Democrat who was representing Arizona’s 8th congressional district, and members of her staff were holding a constituent meeting in the parking lot of a Safeway Supermarket in Casa Adobes, AZ. The meeting, entitled “Congress On Your Corner,” was well underway when 22 year-old Jared Lee Loughner emerged from the audience and approached Giffords, drew his pistol, and shot her point blank in the head before turning his attention to the crowd. As a result, six people died, including one federal District Court Chief Judge, and Giffords’ staffer, Gabe Zimmerman. Giffords initial medical condition was categorized as “critical.” Her recovery was a long, arduous process and on January 22, 2012, she announced her resignation from her congressional seat so that she could focus more on her health.
Giffords and Kelly are set to tour the Saratoga Springs Arms Fair with NY Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman. The Attorney General has been working very closely with 35 gun show organizers in New York in attempt to set tougher rules to track gun sales. The new agreement states that all firearms must be tagged at every gun show entrance. The operators must be able to provide computers at every station in order for sellers to perform background checks. The number of exits at every show have been minimized in order to make sure that all guns are checked and all background checks have been performed. No buyer is allowed to leave a show without providing proper documentation of a legal sale.
While there are still no requirements for gun show background checks at the federal level, NY state is attempting to be the first to fix such a problem. The state model is helping to keep the guns out of the wrong hands while making sure that Second Amendment rights aren’t being infringed upon.
By attending the gun show Giffords hopes to bring attention to the state law that was enacted earlier in the year by NY Governor Andrew Cuomo which expands a ban on all military-type weapons. The law will also require every mental health professional to report any threat, limits gun magazines to only seven bullets, taxing said bullets, and to create a registry that will keep guns out of the hands of potentially dangerous individuals. The law was approved one month after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT.
By: Mary Kay Love