Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Arizona Democrat, and her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, announced Tuesday that they will begin a week-long tour on July 1 to promote gun-purchase background check legislation and show potential swing voters in the U.S. Senate it’s in their interest to support such a measure.
“I’ve been around guns my whole life, and I know that as an American, my right to own a firearm goes hand in hand with my obligation to be a responsible gun owner and to do my part to make sure guns don’t fall into the hands of criminals or dangerously mentally ill people,” Mr. Kelly said. “Gabby and I are excited to hit the road this summer and meet so many of the great Americans who are standing with us to fight for common-sense solutions to prevent gun violence and protect our rights.”
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Mrs. Giffords was shot in the head when a gunman opened fire in a Tucson, Ariz., parking lot in January 2011, killing six people and injuring 12 others. Since resigning from the House last year, she and Mr. Kelly have become tireless advocates for gun control, especially in the wake of the December school shootings in Connecticut.
Earlier this year the two co-founded Americans for Responsible Solutions, a group meant to serve as a counterweight to the gun lobby in Washington.
The tour will pass through Nevada, Alaska, Maine, New Hampshire, North Dakota and Ohio — states with senators that could be considered swing votes on new gun controls.
New polling from the group shows that significant majorities in Nevada, Alaska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, and Arizona support expanded background checks.
The battle over gun legislation earlier this year grew intensely personal for Mrs. Giffords and Mr. Kelly after they were unsuccessful in trying to persuade Sen. Jeff Flake, Arizona Republican and a friend to both who served with Mrs. Giffords in the U.S. House of Representatives, to vote for a measure to expand gun-purchase background checks that failed in the Senate in April.
Polling from the group said that 61 percent of Arizona voters think Mr. Flake should switch his vote, while 30 percent say he should not.