Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords fired a gun this week for the first time since she was gravely wounded in a January 2011 shooting as she set out on a seven-state tour to push for legislation to enhance gun-purchase background checks.
Holding a gun in her left hand, she squeezed off a shot before her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, helped guide her arm down. Mrs. Giffords and Mr. Kelly, who earlier this year founded Americans for Responsible Solutions, a group meant to counter organizations like the National Rifle Association, are traveling this week to states represented by senators seen as potential swing votes on a background check measure that failed in the Senate in April.
The Arizona Democrat was shot in the head at a constituent event two-and-a-half years ago in a spree that killed six people.
“Some might consider me an unlikely advocate for gun rights because I sustained terrible injuries in a violent shooting. But I’m a patriot, and I believe the right to bear arms is a definitive part of our American heritage,” Mrs. Giffords wrote in an op-ed for USA Today.
“We can’t stop every person who is determined to do harm, but common-sense measures can prevent tragedies. Expanding background checks will help create a uniform standard for all gun purchases and prevent criminals and the dangerously mentally ill from obtaining powerful weapons.”