Giffords launches anti-gun campaign in the US
Former US congresswoman and shooting victim Gabrielle Giffords has launched her own campaign for more gun control.
She and her astronaut husband Mark Kelly said their Americans for Responsible Solutions initiative would help raise money to support greater gun control efforts.
It will “raise funds necessary to balance the influence of the gun lobby,” they said in an article for US Today.
They last week visited Newtown, Connecticut, where 20 children and six adults were killed in one of the US’s deadliest school shootings.
The push was launched on the two-year anniversary of the Tucson shooting that left Ms Giffords critically wounded and cut short her career in Washington.
President Barack Obama’s administration was calling gun owner groups, victims’ organizations and representatives from the video-game industry to the White House this week for talks on potential policy proposals for curbing gun violence.
Mr Obama has ordered a task force to send him proposals by the end of January. The group, led by vice president Joe Biden, was formed in response to last month’s horrific massacre at Newtown.
Mr Biden will gun violence victims’ groups and gun safety organizations, then he will hold talks with gun ownership groups, as well as advocates for sportsmen. The vice president also plans to meet representatives from the entertainment and video-game industries.
Mr Obama has called the December 14 shooting in Newtown the worst moment of his presidency. It catapulted gun control to the top of his priority list and also led some pro-gun politicians to express a willingness to consider new measures.
But less than a month after the school shooting, gun control already has taken a backseat in Washington to economic issues. The president and Congress were consumed at year’s end by efforts to avert the combination of spending cuts and tax hikes known as the “fiscal cliff.”
Mr Biden’s recommendations are likely to include proposals for legislation, as well as executive action Mr Obama can sign into law without needing approval from Congress.
The president already has called on it to reinstate a ban on military-style assault weapons, close loopholes that allow gun buyers to skirt background checks and restrict high-capacity magazines. While the president may consider additional gun control measures, he also has ordered his administration to examine ways to improve mental health coverage and consider cultural issues like violence in video games and movies.