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Gabrielle Giffords: Gun rights come with responsibilities

July 2, 2013 Featured, From The Left 20 Comments

July 4 gets the parades and the celebrations, as it should. But I’m going to start my celebration of American independence early. Days before we celebrate our Declaration of Independence and the values that make our nation great, I am taking this week to pay tribute to the Second Amendment — both the rights it bestows and the responsibilities it requires.

Some might consider me an unlikely advocate for gun rights because I sustained terrible injuries in a violent shooting. But I’m a patriot, and I believe the right to bear arms is a definitive part of our American heritage.

For centuries, that right has come with the responsibility to use our guns safely and ensure that our families, our communities and our children are protected. Generations of gun owners have taught their sons and daughters that it takes as much patience and skill to be a good shot as it does to be a good steward of a powerful weapon.

I know that, and my husband, former astronaut and combat veteran Capt. Mark Kelly, knows that. We own guns, we use them and we treat them with great care. But when children are gunned down in their classrooms, when families are slaughtered at a movie theater, when a little girl dreaming of running for office is shot dead standing next to me in a grocery store parking lot, we have to admit what we’re doing is not enough. We’ve all got to do more to reduce gun violence.

We’re gun owners

We can’t stop every person who is determined to do harm, but common-sense measures can prevent tragedies. Expanding background checks will help create a uniform standard for all gun purchases and prevent criminals and the dangerously mentally ill from obtaining powerful weapons.

As gun owners, my husband and I understand that the Second Amendment is most at risk when a criminal or deranged person commits a gun crime. These acts only embolden those who oppose gun ownership. Promoting responsible gun laws protects the Second Amendment and reduces lives lost from guns.

Post Continues: Gabrielle Giffords: Gun rights come with responsibilities.

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  • LittleMoose

    She is correct when she says that “We’ve all got to do more to reduce gun violence.” However, promoting responsible gun laws will not affect the types of criminal activity we see. What we need is responsible enforcement of our criminal gun laws. Forcing law abiding citizens to give up their Constitutional Rights will not solve gun violence. Just look at the large increase in violent crime in Great Britain and Austrailia since they banned citizens from owning firearms.

  • sha49tn

    Anybody that owns a gun SHOULD be more responsible. If the laws were enforced, that we already have, instead of allowing plea bargains, or letting a felon walk on a technicality, we might put the fear of God in some of them. And, if they stopped allowing them to continue to return to court to try to overturn their conviction, unless they have proof positive that they aren’t guilty, such as DNA, it would stop a lot of it too. Back when the death penalty was nation wide, there were still murders, but nothing like we see these days. And, making life miserable for legal gun owners is NOT the way to go.

  • razzy1492

    I think most gun owners are responsible. The problem is not irresponsible gun owners. The problem is in most cases mental disease and just plain evil people, and a culture of violence

    • jpcec

      Don’t forget the judges who let offenders go with a slap on the wrist! Law is written for a reason. Judges must enforce that law or what good is it?

  • JRW40113

    Gabby, you and your husband’s definition of responsible gun laws are the problem. The laws you support would not have prevented the violence you talk about, but would impose further restrictions on law abiding citizens.


      Exactly. None of the animal rights organizations or the liberals said anything when the dog of the daughter of Giffords husband mauled and killed a defenseless baby Sea Lion. Look it up .The child that killed all the children at Sandy Hook got the guns from his mother who was a registered gun owner and had all the background checks and even took him to the shooting range with her and exposed him to guns but the Media and the Giffords don’t want to talk about that.

      • fossie1

        they also won’t talk about how he murdered then stold the guns that he used

  • DaveinUtah

    ” Expanding background checks will help create a uniform standard for all gun purchases and prevent criminals and the dangerously mentally ill from obtaining powerful weapons.” HOW?? The criminals will still get the guns the same way, they do NOT go through background checks. Background checks are now required at all gun shows. Criminal do not go to gun shows to buy guns. I am an FFL Dealer. I sell on the internet. I Require that the purchaser has his local dealer send me a signed copy of his FFL, which I then check on the ATF site, Before I ship the firearm.
    We don’t need more laws. We do need more enforcement of the laws that we have.

    ” Promoting responsible gun laws protects the Second Amendment and reduces lives lost from guns.” We have all of the laws we need. What we really need is those from your party to start enforcing the laws already on the books.

  • infidel81

    As long as you continue to preach the “90%” lie, and the other lies pushed by groups like the “brady bunch” and the Obama administration, you can forget about people like me supporting you.

  • BlueEyedAl

    Gabrielle Giffords is right we must do more, but she refuses to look at the real causes. First, all mass shootings were carried out by registered Democrats or by those to young to vote but came from liberal Democrat families. It is the policies put in place that gives people something for nothing that is the cause of 90% of the violence in this country. Give control of children back to parents and make them liable for their children allow God back into schools. Stop the slaughter of unborn babies. The Democrats have created generations of people to be dependent on the Government to get their votes and by doing so have created generations of people that no longer have any values. I myself had an attention disorder, well, my parents took care of that and not with drugs. Legal drugs are another common denominator in mass murders. Those must be stopped as the only purpose they serve is to make Doctors and pharmaceutical companies rich. More gun laws will only make it easier for criminals. I believe the person that shot Gabrielle Giffords even worked on her campaign.

  • USAVeteran

    I was shot in the head 23 years ago today. It’s a horrible thing to go through, my life is changed forever. Every time I read about these shootings in the News, I follow the story to get all the details, searching for the answer to the question “Why?” I’ve found that shooters who commit mass killings have two things in common. They’re all on anti-depression medication and many are on psych drugs as well, and they’re all liberals. Down and out people, with nothing left to live for. If you want to register a group of people to reduce gun violence, flag the ‘sick’ people, and leave the rest of us alone. Cars kill way more people than guns in America, and all cars are registered – so how’s that working out? Going after drunk drivers has helped a bit.

    We get rid of cars – that would stop it, and we could get rid of baseball bats, and knives, and rope, and tree branches, and rocks… Where does it end? It’s not Guns that kill people, it’s ‘Sick’ people, so let’s figure out how to help them, or lock them away from our society. I am a victim, and I believe it the right to protect myself against ‘sick’ people, and criminals. I-PAK.

  • Despite the phrase “shall not be infringed,” the Second Amendment is the most infringed, licensed, and limited amendments of the twenty seven. Furthermore, our posterity is likely to see the Second Amendment repealed. This is the inherent nature and danger of optional rights versus God-expected responsibilities, such as the one the Apostle Paul depicted to Timothy:

    “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house [including spiritual and physical protection], he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” (1 Timothy 5:8)

    For more, listen to “The Second Amendment: A Knife in a Gunfight” (delivered last March at the Springfield, Missouri, Firearms and Freedom Symposium) at At the same location, you’ll also find a radio interview Larry Pratt (Executive Director of Gun Owners of America) conducted with me on the same subject. I think you’ll find Mr. Pratt’s remarks especially interesting.

    If prefer to read, go to our Blog and scroll down to the title “You Can’t Win Bringing a Knife to a Gunfight.

  • bob_seifert

    We have more than enough laws on the books. The failure is in the system of judicial enforcement. When a Bureaucratic chief of police (politician) can get up on a national stage of a congressional hearing and say, (paraphrasing) that he doesn’t have time to make paper cases of people who lied on gun applications. But then wants MORE laws to make it even harder on law abiding people to get firearms we have a problem. He could have had thousands of people .. FELONS behind bars who were attempting to get guns illegally but made the decision not to. Instead they were allowed to go free. No questions asked, no punishment, no ramifications for their illegal actions.

    If they did not get their guns that way, I am sure that a percentage got them another way.

    Lets START by enforcing the laws that we have on the books NOW. Instead of just having politicians write more for the sake of saying .. “we have to do something”

  • Randy131

    “Gun rights come with responsibilities.” So do ‘Oaths to the US Constitution’! ‘Shall Not Be Infringed’ means exactly what it says. There are enough gun laws on the books to prevent most of the murders perpetrated in the USA, if only law enforcement would enforce them, but just like how the Democrats refuse to enforce our immigration laws and border security, the big cities, that are also controlled by the Democrats, where most murders in the USA take place, refuse to enforce our gun laws, and then when a tragedy occurs using a gun, they demand even more gun laws, infringing on our 2nd Amendment right, and those who take an oath to defend and support the US Constitution, join in trying to usurp that right from all law abiding citizens, who do employ the use of their guns with great responsibility, unlike the criminals, who according to the laws already on the books, are not suppose to have any guns in the first place, and would also ignore any new gun laws, which would only affect the law abiding citizens, who uses their guns lawfully and responsibly. If Gabrielle Giffords really wants to stop gun crimes, then I suggest she starts a campaign to have law enforcement start to enforce the gun laws already on the books, and quit trying to infringe on law abiding citizens’ 2nd Amendment right. If law abiding citizens didn’t understand their responsibilities, they would not be law abiding citizens in the first place, and denying them their 2nd Amendment right is not being responsible, especially for those who take an oath to the US Constitution to protect that right. ‘Shall Not Be Infringed’ means what it says!

  • “Rights” come from government. Any “right” which is granted or conferred by any government can be just as easily taken away, rescinded, or altered. If the government can allow us to own guns, it can also disallow gun ownership.

    Responsibilities, on the other hand, are given to us by God and are never changed or taken away. Circumstances and situations may change, but our responsibility to live and act in a “right” manner always remains. Always. This applies to gun ownership as it does in every other area of life. Abuse it and someone suffers. If enough people refuse to live and act responsibly, then everyone suffers. It’s that simple.

    • Chinner08

      “We are endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights…”
      Rights do not come from governments. You are wrong.

      • Chinner, your quote comes from the Declaration of Independence, not the Bible. If you’re going to prove that “unalienable rights” come from God–that is, from Yahweh God of the Bible–you’ll have to prove it from the Bible not the Declaration. That will prove to be difficult because the Bible knows nothing of rights only responsibilities. See blog article “Rights, Rights, Everyone Wants Their Rights” at

        Moreover, when you consider the Declaration was written by Thomas Jefferson, an antichrist, who cut the virgin birth, miracles, resurrection, and ascension of Christ – what he described as a “dunghill” – out of his cut-and-paste New Testament (Thomas Jefferson, letter to John Adams, 24 January 1814, Lester J. Cappon, ed., The Adams-Jefferson Letters: The Complete Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson and Abigail and John Adams (Williamsburg, VA: Institute of Early American History and Culture, 1988) p. 384.), it should be apparent, especially in light of 2 John 1:7-9, that the god of the Declaration cannot be the God of the Bible and, according to 2 John 1:10-11 anyone who would support Jefferson in his apostasy participates in the sins of an antichrist.

        The god of the Declaration is the generic god of the Freemasons and rationalists.

      • According to the Constitution, we are endowed with certain unalienable rights by our Creator. Unalienable means they cannot be taken away. If our Creator grants us rights which cannot be taken away, then how is it possible for our government to do that very thing?

        Besides, everyone wants THEIR rights which are guaranteed by the Constitution under the guise of liberty, such as, homosexual rights, the right to kill your unborn child, the right to steal your neighbor’s property via majority vote, taxation, and social programs, etc. Are these also endowed by the Creator? Or are some rights more sacrosanct than others? And who decides? Whose rights are granted and guaranteed, and who is left out in the cold?

        Even life (one of the unalienable rights) is not guaranteed to anyone. It can be taken away without notice.

        “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.” (James 4:14, NIV)

        “…Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart.
        The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be
        praised.” (Job 1:21)

        “They came from their mother’s womb naked. They will leave as naked as they came. They won’t even be able to take a handful of their earnings with them from all their hard work.” (GOD’S WORD® Translation ©1995)

        If anything, including our life, can be removed from us at any time and we have no power at all to even retain the smallest portion of it, then it is not a right. It is a gift which we can enjoy for a while, but it is not ours. All these gifts come from God, the Creator, and they are his to grant or rescind at His Will, at any time, for any reason. We own nothing.

        The term “rights” implies that we are owed something because of our inherent nature, because it is due us, because we deserve it. God owes us nothing. In fact, if God gave us what we really deserve, He would blot us out in an instant and remove us from His memory. Yet, by His grace, He continues to give us good things and to those who believe in and follow His Son, Jesus Christ, He grants life, eternal life which no man or woman can take away, regardless of any government edict or action.

        Rights? We have none. We only have responsibility to live rightly and are blessed for it when we do.

  • sirwiley

    Damn, when are these fools going to understand that criminals do not obtain their guns legally and new restrictions will only increase the black market in firearms! During the old gun ban, fully automatic machine guns were sold here in the USA and came here the way illegal drugs do!

  • sirwiley

    Criminals do not obey LAWS! Don’t you know they will obtain their guns the same way they always do, illegally!

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