Former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords along with her astronaut husband, Mark Kelly, and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, made an appearance at the Saratoga Springs Arms Fair. After meandering from booth to booth and examining the various weapons, Giffords gave a speech, imploring those in the audience to help her stop gun violence.
The Washington Post reported that amongst a mostly welcoming crowd came a handful of jeers as Giffords pumped her fist in the air during a post-gun show press conference, exclaiming, “We must never stop fighting. Fight! Fight! Fight! Be Bold! Be Courageous!”
This event marked Giffords’ first gun show since the failed assassination attempt on her life in 2011, where a gunman shot her in the head using a Glock 19 with high-capacity magazines.
Schneiderman – who has worked with all 35 gun show operators in New York – led Giffords and Kelly about the rows of tables, explaining to the couple the agreements he helped set in place. Namely, how each firearm must be tagged before it enters the building, and how each operator is required to provide a computer station so sellers can conduct national background checks. Finally, just as the firearms were tagged on the way in, documentation must be inspected on the way out to ensure background checks were conducted and the rules were properly adhered to.
“It’s great to see government and licensed firearms dealers working together to solve a problem,” Kelly said.
Kelly has previously expressed his concerns over the general public owning “assault weapons,” saying the features like detachable magazines, pistol grips, folding stocks, among others, were designed for military purposes and not for civilians.
Though Kelly has himself purchased an AR-15 rifle as well as a .45-caliber 1911 handgun.
The mood was light as the happy couple perused the selection of guns, hand in hand and with smiles on their faces. Kelly purchased a book on Colt revolvers and said if he had more time, he likely would have bought a gun as well, reported the Daily Mail.
But outside, approximately a dozen protestors gathered to voice their opinion on New York’s new law that expanded a ban on military-style weapons, among other things.
Kenneth Hall was among the protestors, holding a sign with a swastika that read in part, “gun control made the Holocaust possible.” He criticized the new law, saying the New York background check was not needed.
“I believe this is a publicity stunt for Mark Kelly and Gabby Giffords,” Hall said. “They say they’re Second Amendment supports. I don’t believe they are.”