Five years after being shot in the head in an assassination attempt, former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords said Thursday that "we are making progress" toward increasing gun safety in the United States.
"While Congress refuses to act, many state leaders are embracing common-sense change that keeps guns out of the wrong hands," Giffords, a Democrat whose efforts have also involved husband Mark Kelly, wrote in an op-ed piece in The Washington Post.
Giffords, 45, was shot on Jan. 8, 2011, in a supermarket parking lot near Tucdson where she was meeting with constituents. Six people were killed and 13 others were injured.
She praised the executive gun actions President Barack Obama announced on Tuesday, calling them "the right, responsible thing to do."
In closing the gun-show loophole, for instance, Obama's actions would stop merchants "who operate outside of the rules, selling dozens or hundreds of the same guns each year without background checks."
The steps would also require "anyone who sells a significant number of guns or operates like a commercial dealer to get a license and require each buyer to pass a criminal background check," Giffords wrote. "Truly private sales, such as simply selling a gun to a neighbor or a friend, will not be affected."
However, research by her nonprofit organization has found that "millions of firearms transactions that currently happen with no questions asked will be subject to background checks" with the Obama actions.
Giffords lauded moves to strengthen the national background checks system, writing that they would make it "more efficient and effective, including by increasing the number of background-check examiners and related staff members by 50 percent and reporting which states do and don’t provide essential background-check records to the FBI."
She slammed senators, other elected officials — "and some candidates for president" — who "will be quick to haul out the talking points the gun lobbyists in Washington gave them and attack the president’s reasonable action.
"They will warn of dire consequences and willfully spread misinformation," Giffords wrote.
"But the truth is this: These new steps will hurt no one, and they will protect many."
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