An emotional and forceful New York Times op-ed penned by former Rep. Gabby Giffords is gathering attention Thursday morning, one day after the Senate voted down a measure to expand background checks on gun sales in the wake of tragedies such as the deadly 2011 Tucson shooting that left her seriously injured.
“Senators say they fear the N.R.A. and the gun lobby,” she wrote. “But I think that fear must be nothing compared to the fear the first-graders in Sandy Hook Elementary School felt as their lives ended in a hail of bullets. “
The Dec. 14 shooting in Newtown, Conn., that killed 20 schoolchildren and six adults renewed the long-dormant debate over gun control in America. But the 54-46 vote on Wednesday fell short of the 60 votes needed under rules of debate to extend instant background checks to all Internet and gun show sales, while exempting in-person private sales.
“Some of the senators who voted no have also looked into my eyes as I talked about my experience being shot in the head at point-blank range in suburban Tucson two years ago and expressed sympathy for the 18 other people shot besides me, 6 of whom died,” she wrote. “These senators have heard from their constituents — who polls show overwhelmingly favored expanding background checks. And still these senators decided to do nothing. Shame on them.”
Mrs. Giffords and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, have become vocal supporters of gun-law reform through their advocacy organization, Americans for Responsible Solutions. Mr. Kelly was slated to speak Thursday at the National Press Club about the political ramifications of Wednesday’s vote.
In her op-ed, Mrs. Giffords said senators who voted against the background checks measure should face consequences.
“I am asking for mothers to stop these lawmakers at the grocery store and tell them: You’ve lost my vote,” she wrote. “I am asking activists to unsubscribe from these senators’ e-mail lists and to stop giving them money. I’m asking citizens to go to their offices and say: You’ve disappointed me, and there will be consequences.’ “