Gabby Giffords returned today to the Safeway parking lot where a gunman shot her through the head two years ago to urge the U.S. Senate to take action on legislation requiring background checks.
Flanked by her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, Giffords delivered a brief message to Congress: “Be bold. Be courageous. Support background checks.”
Giffords, Kelly and several of the other victims and survivors of the Jan. 8, 2011, shooting massacre gathered this afternoon to encourage Arizonans to ask Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake to support expanding background checks.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to mark up a background-check bill tomorrow, but Politico reported this afternoon that a bipartisan effort to craft a bill had fallen apart over differences regarding whether non-licensed sellers would have to records of firearm transactions.
As Giffords and Kelly arrived at the Safeway this morning, they laid a bouquet of white flowers at the memorial for the six people who were killed during the Tucson rampage: 9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green, federal Judge John M. Roll, Giffords aide Gabe Zimmerman and retirees Dorothy Morris, Phyllis Schneck and Dorwan Stoddard.
Kelly, with Giffords by his side, then took to the podium to call on the public to contact McCain and Flake to let them know they should support new laws that would expand background checks to gun sales by unlicensed dealers and to make it easier to block sales to mentally ill people who pose a danger to themselves or others.