Along with her husband Mark Kelly, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has created a political action committee – Americans for Responsible Solutions – to combat the widespread political influence of the National Rifle Association.
In an op-ed published in USA Today, Giffords and Kelly explained the impetus behind their decision to jump into the debate over gun control:
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.
Giffords, who was shot in the head by a deranged gunman at a political gathering near Tucson, Arizona, in 2011, and Kelly emphasized that, as gun owners themselves, they do not support confiscatory gun polices.
However, they do want ‘responsible changes’ to our gun laws.
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.
In scope and breadth, their policy platform (or their ‘responsible solutions’) is not much different than what other gun control advocacy groups are proposing: universal background checks, a ban on ‘assault weapons’ and high capacity magazines, and laws that crackdown on straw purchasers.
Calling it “defiant and unsympathetic” the two were also critical of the recommendation made by the NRA that schools should start stationing armed guards (police or volunteers) on campus.
In an ABC News interview, Kelly said that carrying a firearm for self-defense is not the best way for ‘a good guy to stop a bad guy with a gun,’ as NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said in his news conference following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
To illustrate his point, Kelly talked about how there was a “good guy” at the Tucson shooting.
A man came out “of the store next door and nearly shot the man who took down Jared Loughner,” Kelly said. “The one who eventually wrestled (Loughner) to the ground was almost killed himself by a good guy with a gun, so I don’t really buy that argument.”
Overall, and aside from the high-profile status of its founders, what differentiates Americans for Responsible Solutions from any of the other pro-gun control PACs that already exist?
Not much. As smart and as likable as this couple is (I mean that sincerely, they seem like really nice people), they – like almost all gun control activists – appear to have certain blind spots on the issue of gun control, particularly with respect to its efficacy or lack thereof (see video below).
The facts are there for all to see (e.g. government studies showed that the Clinton-era AWB had no statistically significant impact on gun-related violence, less than 4 percent of gun-related homicides involve the so-called ‘assault weapons’).
Speaking in broad terms, and as Guns.com has reported at multiple times in the past, more guns, more concealed carry permit holders (good guys with guns) and a growing ‘gun culture’ are not creating more crime. In fact, over the past two decades crime has been declining at a steady rate while gun ownership has been increasing.
So, if Giffords and Kelly really want to make a difference and really want to make a rational appeal to gun owners, they need to start by acknowledging those aforementioned facts and the inherent limitations in the solutions they’re proposing.
Change is possible, but only if both sides agree on the same reality. Right now, their message is too much in step with the unrealistic reasoning of the modern gun control movement.