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'Enough': Gabrielle Giffords speaks out against guns two years after Tucson

Gabrielle Giffords and her husband have launched a lobbying group to promote 'common sense' gun control – a sign, some say, that the emotional stories of gun crime victims are resonating.

By Staff Writer / January 8, 2013

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D) of Connecticut (l.), former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (c.), and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, leave the Newtown Municipal Building in Newtown, Conn., on Friday. Ms. Giffords, who survived a mass shooting in her Arizona district two years ago, is launching a group to lobby for gun control.

Michelle McLoughlin/Reuters

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Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head during a mass shooting in Tucson, Ariz., exactly two years ago, has stepped into the national spotlight to offer a one-word opinion about US gun violence: "Enough."

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The comment is part of an interview with ABC set to be aired Tuesday night, and it comes as Ms. Giffords and her astronaut husband, Mark Kelly, announced the formation of a new group aimed at influencing the national debate on gun violence and countering the political and financial influence of the National Rifle Association (NRA). The goal, the couple wrote in USA Today Tuesday, is to ensure that "legislators will no longer have reason to fear the gun lobby."

The national tragedy that played out at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14, has shifted the tenor and substance of the debate over the Second Amendment, which guarantees the rights of Americans to own and carry firearms, for the first time in decades. And Giffords, with her own heroic story of recovery, could be uniquely placed to help marshal gun-control forces moving forward.

The decision by Giffords, herself a gun owner and a supporter of the Second Amendment, shows a sense of urgency in capitalizing on post-Newtown emotions. The Obama administration, too, is trying to move quickly – this week initiating conversations with gunmakers, Hollywood producers, gun-crime victims, and gun rights groups about how to proceed. But the efforts risk exposing cracks in a notably fractious gun-control movement.

[Editor's note: The original version of this story misstated Ms. Gifford’s position on the Second Amendment.]

"One of the things that the gun-control movement has always faced is an abundance of underfunded groups that don't work together well," says Duke University gun-policy expert Kristin Goss, author of "Disarmed: The Missing Movement for Gun Control in America." "But that's gotten better in recent years. These groups are now working together more sympathetically, and the arrival of [New York Mayor] Michael Bloomberg on the scene can't be underestimated, where he's got a national platform, deep pockets, and is completely unafraid of the NRA."

In evidence of this improving coordination, Giffords and Mr. Kelly traveled both to Newtown to meet with parents and to New York to discuss their plans with Mayor Bloomberg before deciding to launch their group, which will be called Americans for Responsible Solutions.

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