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Giffords, Kelly launch gun control initiative

WASHINGTON (JTA) – Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, launched a gun control initiative on the second anniversary of the Jan. 8 shooting in Tucson.

“I was shot in the head while meeting with constituents two years ago today,” Giffords wrote with Kelly, an ex-astronaut, in a USA Today Op-Ed published Tuesday that noted the launching of their group, Americans for Responsible Solutions. “Since then, my extensive rehabilitation has brought excitement and gratitude to our family.

“But time and time again, our joy has been diminished by new, all too familiar images of death on television: the breaking news alert, stunned witnesses blinking away tears over unspeakable carnage, another community in mourning.”

The couple wrote that their group is ready to take on the gun lobby, and particularly the National Rifle Association.

“Until now, the gun lobby’s political contributions, advertising and lobbying have dwarfed spending from anti-gun violence groups. No longer,” the Op-Ed said. “With Americans for Responsible Solutions engaging millions of people about ways to reduce gun violence and funding political activity nationwide, legislators will no longer have reason to fear the gun lobby.”

Giffords, the first Arizona Jewish woman elected to Congress, last week visited Newtown, Conn., the site of a massacre last month of 20 first-graders and seven adults by a lone gunman.

Giffords was attacked in 2011 during a constituents’ event at a Safeway parking lot, also by a lone gunman. Six people were killed in the shooting.