Gabrielle Giffords and Former Astronaut Mark Kelly Make Plea for Stronger Gun Control Measures

Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly talk with Diane Sawyer on ABC World News

Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly talk with Diane Sawyer on ABC World News on January 6, 2013. Photo Credit: ABC/Ida Astute

In the wake of the recent mass shootings in the U.S., there has been renewed, and intense, debate about gun control. And now, former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, have joined in the effort to promote sensible discussion about the issue.

On Sunday, they announced a new initiative called Americans for Responsible Solutions, which calls for “common sense” changes to gun control laws. The couple spoke about the new initiative in an exclusive interview with Diane Sawyer on ABC World News.

Giffords summed up their feelings about the issue in one word: “Enough.” She was wounded herself by a gunman when she was shot in the head on January 8, 2011, outside of a supermarket in Tucson, Ariz. She is still recovering from that experience, but has made a truly heroic comeback. After the horrific murders of 20 children and six adults last month at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., the couple  felt compelled to take action.

“After the shooting in Tucson, there was talk about addressing some of these issues, [and] again after [a movie theater massacre in] Aurora, Colo.,” Kelly said. He continues, “I’m hopeful that this time is different, and I think it is. Twenty first-graders being murdered in their classrooms is a very personal thing for everybody.”

Gabrielle Gifford’s first appearance in Congress after being shot in 2011. Photo Credit: ABC World News

The couple recently visited Newtown to visit with families affected by the tragedy.

Both Giffords and Kelly are gun owners themselves, but had strong words for the National Rifle Association. The gun control debate has focused on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, which are largely considered to be unnecessary for self-defense or hunting. As Kelly notes, “An extended magazine is used to kill people—lots of people.”

The couple believes that the changes should start with more comprehensive background checks for the private sales of firearms and addressing the issue of mental illness—two key issues that a lot of people would agree with.

As Kelly explains, “I bought a gun at Wal-Mart recently, and I went through a background check. It’s not a difficult thing to do. Why can’t we just do that and make it more difficult for criminals and the mentally ill to get guns?”

Kelly was a space shuttle veteran, including commanding the last flight of Endeavour in 2011.

To watch the interview, click here: Diane Sawyer Interview

3 comments to Gabrielle Giffords and Former Astronaut Mark Kelly Make Plea for Stronger Gun Control Measures

  • Dheyanna Rheye-Hounou

    We need a national organization that collects dues ($10-20 a month) to fund efforts at gun control. The NRA has that organization. Those of us on the other side need such an organization.

  • james & charlotte cameron

    We just gladly contributed, and encourage others to help!

  • Brian Meyer

    I am a law abiding gun owner, novice sport shooter, and a hunter. I am NOT a member of the NRA, but have been in the past. The reason I am not is because I do not agree with their stand on Assult Style Weapons. I also know of several other gun owners that feel the same way. While I understand why the NRA has to fight this hard, I do not feel that the sporting world needs these firearms. When we mix these firearms with our video games, violent TV shows, and the press coverage of these horrid crimes it seems to just fuel the fire. That being said, I do not believe these guns are the root cause of all of the unfortunate killings that have occured.
    Mark and Gabby, you seem to be the only two individuals I have watched that are calling for “sensible” talks on gun control. You seem to want to take a look at the complete picture, and seem to want to hear from all sides involved in this issue. I commend both of you for that. I truly believe that gun control alone cannot stop the crimes we are seeing and sincerely hope we take a strong look at the media and entertainment industries and start putting some limitations on what is available to our youth. My son is 14 years old and is also a trap shooter and hunter. Yes he does play video games, but as concerned parents, my wife and I do not allow him to have any video games that involve killing humans period. There is no need for these in our soceity when kids almost live in front of the screen playing these games. They do have an effect without any doubt. If you think the NRA can fight, wait till we try fight the media and entertainment industries, it is going to have to be looked at.