Gabby Giffords: Why will she attend NY gun show? (+video)

Gabby Giffords and husband Mark Kelly will attend their first gun show since she survived a 2011 assassination attempt. Gabby Giffords is attending to highlight New York's new stricter gun control law. Is it a state model?

By , Associated Press

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    Former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, accompanied by her husband, retired astronaut and combat veteran Capt. Mark Kelly, speak in Manchester, N.H., in July. Giffords called on New Hampshire's political leaders to expand background checks on gun purchases.
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Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who survived an assassination attempt in 2011, is set to tour a New York gun show, the first such visit since she was shot.

Giffords and husband Mark Kelly, a former combat pilot and astronaut, are scheduled to be with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman at the Saratoga Springs Arms Fair on Sunday to highlight a voluntary agreement and stricter state gun control law.

It will be latest event by Giffords and Kelly in their national campaign for expanded background checks for gun sales.

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A state law enacted earlier this year with a push by Gov. Andrew Cuomo expanded a ban on military-style weapons, requires mental health professionals to report threats, limits magazines to seven bullets, taxes bullets and creates a registry to keep guns out of the wrong hands. It was approved a month after the Newtown, Conn., school massacre.

Separately, Schneiderman worked closely with all 35 gun show operators in New York to adopt stringent new rules to track sales.

Kelly said the system could be a national model.

"At the federal level we still have no requirement for background checks at gun shows, but states like New York are fixing the loophole," he said. "The state's model helps keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them — like criminals and the dangerously mentally ill — without infringing on our Second Amendment rights."

Under the agreements worked out by Schneiderman, all firearms are tagged at the entrances to gun shows. Operators must provide computer stations for sellers to do national background checks. Guns are checked as they are taken away through a limited number of exits to make sure background checks were performed. No buyers can leave a show without documentation of a proper sale.

Operators must also notify local police so they can patrol near shows watching for illegal sales. Schneiderman also has a staff member at each gun show to work with operators to monitor compliance with the new gun control law.

Schneiderman's effort began after a 2011 sting operation found numerous violations at gun shows. Investigators found frequent sales without background checks, including no attempts to prevent private sales outside the show. There also were sales to undercover investigators who said they had court orders of protection against them, which should prevent them from passing a background check.

Giffords was shot in the head in her Arizona district and her right arm remains paralyzed. She and Kelly are expected to tour the show beginning around noon in Saratoga Springs, near Albany.

In other gun control news, Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a bill Friday that would have imposed the nation's toughest gun ownership restrictions on Californians, saying it was too far-reaching.

The legislation would have banned future sales of most semi-automatic rifles that accept detachable magazines, part of a firearms package approved by state lawmakers in response to mass shootings in other states.

It was lawmakers' latest attempt to close loopholes that have allowed manufacturers to work around previous assault weapon bans. Gun rights groups had threatened to sue if the semi-automatic weapons ban became law.

"I don't believe that this bill's blanket ban on semi-automatic rifles would reduce criminal activity or enhance public safety enough to warrant this infringement on gun owners' rights," the Democratic governor wrote in his veto message.

He also noted that California already has some of the nation's strictest gun and ammunition laws.

The legislation was among 18 gun bills considered by the governor as he works toward a Sunday deadline to act on bills sent to his desk last month. He signed 11 firearms bills into law and vetoed seven.

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Associated Press writer Michael Virtanen contributed to this report from Albany and Don Thompson contributed from Sacramento, Calif.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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