With all the publicity that ABC News has been using to promote Diane Sawyer's "exclusive" interview with former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly, I just had a bad feeling about it. That doubled when they said Giffords and Kelly would be announcing a new initiative and had recently met with Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
I was right.
Giffords and Kelly look to become the new Jim and Sarah Brady.
They are calling their initiative Americans for Responsible Solutions. Interestingly, according to the webpage it is a political action committee. It is obvious that they mean this PAC as a cover for politicians just like the American Hunters and Shooters Association. The difference is that they evoke much more sympathy than AHSA could ever hope to do.
Giffords and Kelly say they want to propose "commonsense solutions" to "curb gun violence" (sic). Their proposals mirror some of those of Bloomberg and MAIG. They want universal background checks for private sales and they want magazine restrictions. Reading their op-ed in USA Today and the ABC News article, I don't see any mention on banning semi-automatic rifles.
They make strong efforts to portray themselves as gun owners with Kelly noting he had recently purchased a firearm at Walmart and that they have two guns at home "in a safe". In their op-ed they describe themselves as "a Western woman and a Persian Gulf War combat veteran who have exercised their Second Amendment rights" who aren't out to take your guns.
I think you will see a strong effort by them to try and marginalize the NRA as being fringe or extremist.
Watching the interview above as well as others they have given, you have to wonder how much of this is Mark Kelly as opposed to Gabby Giffords. She has had a traumatic brain injury and has made a great recovery. That said, after such an injury I would think - and I'm not an expert - that it would have to affect the thought processes and the ability to make rational decisions in some way. Kelly does most of the talking for them while Giffords looks at him and utters a little something here and then.
Special interests purporting to represent gun owners but really advancing the interests of an ideological fringe have used big money and influence to cow Congress into submission. Rather than working to find the balance between our rights and the regulation of a dangerous product, these groups have cast simple protections for our communities as existential threats to individual liberties. Rather than conducting a dialogue, they threaten those who divert from their orthodoxy with political extinction.
As a result, we are more vulnerable to gun violence. Weapons designed for the battlefield have a home in our streets. Criminals and the mentally ill can easily purchase guns by avoiding background checks. Firearm accessories designed for killing at a high rate are legal and widely available. And gun owners are less responsible for the misuse of their weapons than they are for their automobiles.
Forget the boogeyman of big, bad government coming to dispossess you of your firearms. As a Western woman and a Persian Gulf War combat veteran who have exercised our Second Amendment rights, we don't want to take away your guns any more than we want to give up the two guns we have locked in a safe at home. What we do want is what the majority of NRA members and other Americans want: responsible changes in our laws to require responsible gun ownership and reduce gun violence.
We saw from the NRA leadership's defiant and unsympathetic response to the Newtown, Conn., massacre that winning even the most common-sense reforms will require a fight. But whether it has been in campaigns or in Congress, in combat or in space, fighting for what we believe in has always been what we do.
Make no mistake, Giffords, Kelly, and Americans for Responsible Solutions are a threat to gun rights. They present a sympathetic face, their agenda scarcely differs from that of Bloomberg and his Illegal Mayors, and the mainstream media have signed up to be their propaganda agents.