Former Representative Gabrielle Giffords Launches Veterans Initiative For Gun Control

Veteran Initiative

(CNN) – Dozens of retired senior military veterans are signing onto Americans for Responsible Solutions, the pro-gun control group of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly.

The new initiative, Veterans for Responsible Solutions, will support Giffords and Kelly’s wider efforts by bringing to bear the experience of military veterans who’ve sworn to defend the Second Amendment and have themselves been well versed in the use of firearms.
Kelly is taking point on the initiative as a veteran himself. The former astronaut is a retired Navy captain, becoming a combat veteran as a military aviator.

“I’ve been shot at” while flying, Kelly told reporters on a conference call organized to promote the initiative.

Moreover, there are guns in the Arizona home Kelly shares with Giffords he said, guns used for self-defense and target shooting.

The point Kelly was trying to prove is that neither he nor any member of his organization is looking to repeal or limit Second Amendment rights, likely because the perception of any move against gun ownership in the United States is bound to incite fierce opposition from the powerful pro-gun lobby.

“We’re for gun rights,” said James Barnett, a retired rear admiral.

Instead, Veterans for Responsible Solutions wants commonsense actions like universal background checks, Kelly said.

These are background checks an overwhelming majority of Americans have said they support, polls show.

Vance Coleman, a retired Army major general, said on the call that he also owns guns. But not everyone should, Coleman continued, namely criminals and the mentally ill.

“They should not own guns and the Congress needs to do something about that,” Coleman said.

The exact functions of the veterans initiative remains fluid.

According to Kelly, some members will be doing little more than lending their names while others will be pursuing a greater measure of activism, perhaps by writing newspaper editorials.

Efforts at introducing universal background checks stalled when a Senate bill got 54 votes in April, six shy of the supermajority it would have needed.

The Obama administration’s vow to fight on gained little traction, although there have been limited executive actions taken since then aimed at curbing gun violence.

On Friday Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius pushed new rules that would require mental illness to be treated the same as physical ailments.

Gun control activists and other have argued that not enough attention has been paid to treating the mentally ill when it comes to trying to prevent gun violence.

Politically, gun control has proven largely unpalatable, particularly with the successful recall elections in September of a pair of Democratic legislators in Colorado who helped push gun control measures.

Groups like the National Rifle Association argue that background checks and other restrictions harm only law-abiding gun owners while criminals will continue to obtain firearms illegally.

29 comments

  • Michael Kewl

    “The exact functions of the veterans initiative remains fluid.”…that pretty well sums up any politcal action from a WASH-DC Federalist couple…you cannot trust this any more than ObamaCaare when you have the Fedral Government in charge of a “fluid” situation.

  • Reggie Gene Johnson

    Why would Veterans support measures that allow an already out of control government more control? The states need to regulate their laws based on the constitution. Keeping in mind that it is the say government that has officially listed veterans as being dangerous and regularly allows the police to forceably remove guns from military members who are being evaluated for PTSD. They are not considered dangerous nor suicidal by their doctors but they are just being seen. This trash from kelly and giffords is just a ploy to take obamacare and the lack of a federal budget off the front pages. Fix the real problems with the federal government and we will discuss gun laws. I am going to notify every elected official I can reach that kelly and giffords are not speaking for me nor my family. As a Veteran and an American I feel their proposals are only there to make the government feel safe and not the people.

  • Dash Riprock

    “Vance Coleman, a retired Army major general, said on the call that he also owns guns. But not everyone should, Coleman continued, namely criminals and the mentally ill.” The General isn’t too smart. It’s already illegal for criminals and the mentally ill to own guns.

  • Wake Up

    I am a prior service Explosive Ordnance Disposal specialist. You can not question my patriotism, but I would support the efforts to enact sensible gun regulations requiring the safe storage of weapons. The majority of gun issues start with someone that does not securely store their weapons.

  • Shane

    Don’t you mean “Former Representative Gabrielle Giffords Launches Veterans Initiative For Gun Control?” Subject-verb agreement.

  • Donald Britton Conrad

    A Studied Effort to Resolve the American Gun Control Conflict Peacefully. 4/15/2013
    Dear Friends,
    Gun control is a key issue in every state and assuredly with every governor and mayor. Its continued tempestuousness has taken its toll on many good, well-meaning Americans. I possess a .22 rifle to protect my cattle. The army taught me the judicial use of weapons.
    As a trained social scientist, and a gun owner, permit me to offer an uncomplicated solution to bring our citizens back to a truly united America. The gun control debate centers around two basic issues: 1. State and Federal laws that require background checks on the purchase of guns. 2. State and Federal laws that ban private ownership of assault weapons.
    Attempts at finding a sagacious solution that Americans can live without further antagonisms might be within our reach. Reason suggests allowing gun owners to possess assault weapons if society can control their uses without fear of mass killings of innocent citizens, young and old.
    Of course the question of “how to accomplish this goal” seems to require us to cut the Gordian knot. The sword needed may be within our reach if we step back and consider a method that should easily satisfy both opponents.
    The first consideration is to ask when in history has a similar conflict been resolved peacefully? For many years, banks provided safety boxes for customer’s jewelry, important documents, cash, etc. The depositor must sign a document that proves ownership. Then the depositor provides his key to the bank official who uses it and a bank key to unlock the safety box. After the depositor is finished the safety box is returned to its slot and locked with both keys. Thus the owner’s property is protected from government interference.
    This simple example leads to a safe keeping method for Assault weapons. Consider a state-owned “Gun Bank” where assault weapons are safely kept in a vault under lock and key. In this case the vault contains an area to store individual Assault weapons . Two keys are needed to open the vault space’s two locks, one in the hand of a bank official and a second key in the hand of a National Rifle Association member. Both individuals must be certified by the State and the FBI.
    To obtain access to one’s weapons, the depositor must submit a certificate that identifies the person as the gun owner. The owner must sign a ledger that describe what the owner plans to do with the weapon (s). The weapon(s) may be returned to the bank vault after a fixed time. Immediately after obtaining or returning the gun(s), the local police department is notified of this. The local police immediately notify the FBI of the transactions. I believe a gun bank be created in every county seat. Severe penalties should be inflicted on miscreants. (Imagine 500 county seats hiring hundreds of workers).
    Thus, by the gun bank method, the NRA’s complaint that the government will take away citizen’s weapons is not plausible.
    Donald Britton Conrad I, B.S. in Social Science, M.A. in History, M.S. in Counseling Psychology. Degrees from CCNY and Iowa U. 48 Carriage Lane, Piney Creek, N.C. 28663 336 372-4454

    • Dale-uncoMNcents

      So if we allow government control of when, why, where and for how long we can have a gun they they will not take them away. Only an academic could come up with something so rediculous.

    • Micah Rollins

      Your suggestion is for us to lock away certain firearms in a “Gun Bank” when the firearms in question are used in only 200-300 murders a year? The credibility you gained by saying you were in the army was lost when you came up with such a ridiculous statement.

      We do not require actual machine guns to be locked up in gun banks why would we require semiautomatic rifles be locked in gun banks? You know machine guns are legal to own right? You just have to jump through the hoops and pay around 20k for them.

      Any one who thinks semiautomatic rifles that resemble military rifles in appearance but function exactly like semiautomatic hunting rifles are more dangerous than any other firearm is delusional.

      The mass shooting with the highest body count was done with two 9mm pistols. Many people will not carry a 9mm for self defense. They think its not a powerful enough round. That didn’t stop the Virginia Tech shooter from killing more people than any mass shooting committed with a semiautomatic rifle.

      SSG Rollins

    • Owen

      I’d be cool with the gun bank idea if the government had the guns for us to check out like a library. I will never let any of the guns I own to be stored anywhere but my home. If you think personal guns should be stored in such a place, you are missing the point of the 2nd amendment.

  • R.B. Riddick

    As a vet, I am seriously insulted by this group inferring they represent the opinions of vets everywhere.

    This group’s name is also a misnomer. It should really be called “Retired desk-jockey brass for the same feel-good but worthless measures every other gun control group wants.” They say that they don’t want to limit 2A rights – then sneak in and mention “Military-style” arms and magazines over 10 rounds. Is there some kind of script the gun control groups follow? They’re all spouting the same garbage and lies, while throwing out “responsible” and “common sense” in front of everything. It’s a joke.

  • mamac

    I hate it that this happen to Gabrielle.. But I DID NOT DO THIS TO HER OR MY FAMILY..So, don’t start on my guns..We own guns and have for years and years..Nothing has happened here. And I’m a licensed gun carrying pistol WOMAN..And I feel SAFE when I travel knowing that if I have car trouble and someone tries hurts to me than I HAVE PROTECTION..

  • Michael Kewl

    “The exact functions of the veterans initiative remains fluid.”…that sentence tells it all as this WASH-DC couple’s intentions are not truly disclosed as the current laws address this ‘agenda’ they are proposing which is supported by a non-profit org that wants all private gun ownership banned.

  • Gordon

    As a veteran, I am for “responsible solutions” also. One I like particularly is national reciprocity for concealed carry permits (like driver’s licenses). There are already background checks and no more are needed, especially since almost all guns used in crime are stolen. No actions need to be taken against private party transactions.

  • Dale-uncoMNcents

    To all of the anti-self defense extremist; We have figured out that “commons sense” means whatever gun contol you can get passed in the current environment. We also know that it will never be enough for you. I assume that those joining this group also beleived it was a good idea to disarm soldiers on military bases. The dead at Fort Hood and the Navy Yard thank you for your concern for thier safety.

  • Williamdiamon

    Assault Rifles?

    America in perspective:

    Total murders- 12,664

    Handguns- 6,220

    Knives-1,694

    Hands and feet-728

    Hammers + clubs-496

    All rifles- 323 (that includes your “assault” + .50 rifles)

    Source: FBI 2011

  • Williamdiamon

    Background check?
    The NICS record tells us that gun sales are at record highs. Store shelves tell us that lead is the new precious metal. Do the math and use common sense, the reason the Federal gun control bill failed is lack of public support. People like guns and the safety they can provide.

    Public support for “universal background checks” was never at 90 percent. That number came from a poll by Quinnipiac University, a institution well know for it’s biased and “progressive” ideology. The questions asked of participants were phrased to give these numbers. Rasmussen came out later showing only 49 percent replied they thought background checks even make any difference to crime rates. They are right. Would a criminal even buy a gun? Why would they if their job description is to “rob and steal”? Their “homies” would probably laugh at them. Interviewed incarcerated criminals report getting -2- percent from legal sources, that includes gun shows. Would a criminal pay $400-$900 dollars for a handgun to rob a store for $300? Maybe but I doubt it. They steal guns and buy them from other criminals.
    It is also evident stopping crime and mass murders are not the reason for the bill as it would not have stopped any of the mass murders. It cannot stop crime either. Witness laws on the books now against drugs, murder, rape or any crime. If you want to make a difference in crime rates go after gangs. Mass murders? Address mental health care. The only way we can effect the desired change through law abiding citizens is to liberalize concealed carry laws and remove the “gun free zone” as this is where mass murders happen. Crime has gone down across the USA. It has gone down faster in states with “shall issue concealed” laws faster than “discretionary” laws. And not at all in places like Chicago, Detroit or DC, with draconian gun laws. Had the current gun control bill addressed these issues it would have made a difference to our safety. It was obviously crafted for other reasons.

    The DOJ told Eric Holder the bill can’t work without a complete registry of gun owners in the USA. This is the danger of this bill and why there is so much resistance to it. The NICS is set up in a certain way, You can trace a gun to it’s owner but not a owner to a gun. If a weapon is found at a crime scene, we call the FBI with the serial number, they have a record of who sold the gun, they call the FFL and they will search their records for the buyer. This way no one can look up your name and know what guns you own, then persecute in some way. This system was set up this specific way to prevent what happened in Nazi Germany. Still, All it would take is someone keeping a copy of the checking list to know who has what. Don’t think it could happen? Neither did the disarmed Jews. Or the other 6 million undesirables.
    Read History, it hasn’t been kind to those who’ve been disarmed, we know them as “victims”.

  • Raconteur Duck

    Just what we need: more FUDDs telling us how they own guns and “support the 2nd Amendment, BUT” it’s always BUT with those jerks.

  • Frank Koza

    Recommend reading Federalist Paper #46, written by Madison to assure the people that the government prescribed by the Constitution would be for the purpose for which governments are instituted as stated in the Declaration of Independence, to secure our unalienable rights. These are not mere privileges extended by the government and they don’t give us our rights. They are our natural rights that the government is formed specifically to protect.

    Excerpt from Federalist #46, “Besides the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation, the existence of subordinate governments, to which the people are attached, and by which the militia officers are appointed, forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. Notwithstanding the military establishments in the several kingdoms of Europe, which are carried as far as the public resources will bear, the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms. And it is not certain, that with this aid alone they would not be able to shake off their yokes. But were the people to possess the additional advantages of local governments chosen by themselves, who could collect the national will and direct the national force, and of officers appointed out of the militia, by these governments, and attached both to them and to the militia, it may be affirmed with the greatest assurance, that the throne of every tyranny in Europe would be speedily overturned in spite of the legions which surround it. Let us not insult the free and gallant citizens of America with the suspicion, that they would be less able to defend the rights of which they would be in actual possession, than the debased subjects of arbitrary power would be to rescue theirs from the hands of their oppressors. Let us rather no longer insult them with the supposition that they can ever reduce themselves to the necessity of making the experiment, by a blind and tame submission to the long train of insidious measures which must precede and produce it.”

    Also, the courts from SCOTUS, see Castle Rock vs Gonzales, on down have consistently affirmed for years that police have no special duty to protect citizens. This was recently argued by the City of New York in the case of Joe Lozito vs the City of New York, where Joe was viciously attacked in the NYC subway by a knife-wielding, deranged killer in the presence of two armed New York City’s finest, who were only present on that train because they were specifically stationed there in performance of a city-wide manhunt for that specific murderer. Luckily, Joe was able to subdue the killer, though sustaining great injury to himself, while the armed police officers looked on from the safety of the locked engineer’s compartment only coming to his assistance after he had pinned his attacker. To add insult to injury, Bloomberg held a press conference extolling the bravery of the police department and giving them all the credit for the capture during an attack on another victim (Joe), while Joe watched on the TV from his hospital bed. Bloomberg has the audacity to try to further infringe on our ability to defend and secure our natural rights for ourselves, while simultaneously arguing that Joe had no claim for his police officers have no duty to protect.

    Background checks are not a viable solution for the state devices are generally implemented only to protect themselves or enrich special interests within their constituencies to allow politicians to gain and maintain power. They’ll most assuredly use such a registry to further infringe upon our natural rights. As the Senate majority leader recently reminded the Senate during the partial government shutdown, “We support the federal government. That’s our job. That’s what we do.” No, Harry, your job is to write fair laws that apply equally to all and to ensure the federal, state, and local governments do not infringe on our individual natural rights.

  • Wake Up

    Cam, he did not kill her, and she will continue to work to keep guns out of the hands of hateful people like you!

  • Jim Smith

    Currently, there are only 2 ways to legally sell a gun in the US to a private citizen. One is a private sale between individuals (typically like between family and friends) or by a gun dealer adjudicated and licensed with a Federal Firearms License (FFL) by the federal BATF. Only individuals with an FFL can run a background check through the government NICS database of prohibited persons. Private citizens cannot. Note that a person can purchase a firearm online, but the physical transfer of the firearm still must go through an FFL at the seller and an FFL local to the buyer. So if the Giffords really feel the system needs fixing, they should propose 2 things:

    1) Allow any small gun dealer to get an FFL without having a storefront. Currently, thanks to the Clinton administration’s effort to reduce the supply of guns, you can’t get an FFL if you want to sell guns only at gun shows (See question 18a on ATF form 5310 FFL application at http://www.atf.gov/files/forms/download/atf-f-5310-12.pdf). As a result someone that wants to sell guns but can’t afford the inventory costs, zoning challenges and overhead of a storefront has to sell illegally or discretely at the edge of the law as a “private individual” and hence can’t run a background check. Rather than throwing these “kitchen table” sellers out of the system like Clinton did hoping they would go away, they should allow them to get an FFL and subject them to BATF rules, audits and oversight like they were before the Clinton administration let political anti-gun ideology get in the way.

    2) Give anyone free, public, anonymous online access to the NICS database. I don’t understand why a federal database of people prohibited from owning firearms can’t be available in the public domain like databases for sex offenders. The NICS system is really a go/no go process and no useful information has to be displayed to facilitate phishing expeditions for identity theft other than what was already known by the user making the query. It’s certainly no more revealing than the FAA’s pilot and mechanic license query system, which provides more detailed information on presumably law-abiding citizens. Once this system is implemented, you then tell private sellers if you sell or give a firearm to someone and don’t retain a piece of paper that says you did a favorable NICS check on the buyer, you could be held liable if they commit a gun-related crime. This would effectively close the so-called private sale loophole and still preserve the anonymity of the parties involved the same way the current background check system does now. If a private sale firearm shows up at a crime scene, the ATF follows their current procedure of using the serial number of the firearm to contact the last FFL that sold the firearm to a private citizen to obtain that citizen’s name and address from the ATF form 4473 the FFL is required to keep on file. That citizen is then contacted and produces the piece of paper from the NICS background check that identifies the second private citizen who is then contacted, and so forth.

    The real benefit of this proposal is how it can help identify the illusive killer with questionable behavior patterns or mental health issues that is causing so many problems. As it stands now there is no easy, fast, non-bureaucratic method for someone to determine if a suspicious person (neighbor, employee, student, etc) is a potential threat to society. If someone thinks an individual could be a threat, a query to a public NICS database would at least tell him or her in a few seconds if the individual could obtain a firearm. Then, armed with that information the appropriate authorities could be notified and they could decide if it was a mistake or whether to investigate further. As it stands now, if you tell authorities you know a suspicious person they will probably ignore you, but if you tell them you know such a person and by the way according to the NICS database he can buy a firearm, they will probably be more inclined to investigate rather than risk embarrassment later if the worst happens. The same would be true if you see a suspicious person with a firearm when the NICS query says he’s prohibited from having one. It would also help provide piece of mind and a method for victims of violent crimes to ensure their assailants either on parole or still at large have not been excluded from the database because of some bureaucratic foul-up.

    As Far as I’m concerned, anything beyond this is just a clandestine attempt to lay the groundwork for a registry.

  • Darby

    Thanks for finally writing abot >Former Representative Gabrielle Giffords Launches Veterans Initiative Forr Gun
    Control | WHNT.com <Loved it!

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