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.”
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