Gabrielle Giffords takes in a gun show -

Gabrielle Giffords takes in a gun show


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – A smiling Gabrielle Giffords toured rows of tables loaded with rifles and handguns Sunday in her first visit to a gun show since surviving a 2011 shooting, and pleaded afterward for people to come together to stop gun violence.

The former Arizona congresswoman visited the Saratoga Springs Arms Fair with her astronaut husband, Mark Kelly and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to highlight a voluntary agreement that closely monitors gun show sales in New York.

The trio mixed with a gun show crowd that was mostly welcoming — with a few hostile undertones — before calling for people to build on the co-operative effort.

“We must never stop fighting,” Giffords said at a post-tour news conference, her fist in the air. “Fight! Fight! Fight! Be bold! Be courageous!”

Giffords, a face of the national gun control effort, slowly walked hand-in-hand with Kelly through the large room where Winchester rifles, muzzle-loaders, antique knives and other weapons were on display and “Don’t Tread on Me” flags covered a wall.

They stopped at display tables, Kelly asked dealers questions about the weapons, and Giffords shook hands and smiled when people greeted her. “Good to see you looking good!” some said. Kelly bought a book on Colt revolvers, and said later he probably would have bought a gun if he had had more time. He said both he and his wife are gun owners.

The trio was greeted by light applause when introduced at the news conference, but some people booed from across the room. Dealer Joe Albano, who chatted with Kelly about his muzzle-loaders, later said the couple was nice. But he also said he was against New York’s recent gun control law, which is separate from the Schneiderman initiative.

“If she can help us, fine,” Albano said. “We’re doing everything right here. We’re legal.”

Under the agreements worked out by Schneiderman, all firearms are tagged at the entrances to gun shows. Operators must provide computer stations for sellers to do national background checks.

As they are taken away through a limited number of exits, guns are checked to make sure background checks were performed. No buyers can leave a show without documentation of a proper sale.

Schneiderman, who has worked with all 35 gun show operators in New York, showed the couple how the process worked.

“It’s great to see government and licensed firearms dealers working together to solve a problem,” Kelly said.

Giffords was shot in the head while meeting with constituents in Tucson. Six people died.

Though it was mostly smiles inside, about a dozen protesters rallied outside the gun show holding signs critical of New York’s new law that expanded a ban on military-style weapons, among other things. The law was passed not long after the December school massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

Kenneth Hall, who held a sign with a swastika that read in part “gun control made the Holocaust possible,” said the New York background check was not needed.

“I believe this is a publicity stunt for Mark Kelly and Gabby Giffords,” Hall said. “They say they’re Second Amendment supporters. I don’t believe they are.”

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Gabrielle Giffords takes in a gun show

  1. And why not her husband bought her an AR15 assault rifle at a store….

  2. There’s just no helping some people.

  3. I love 2nd “amendmenters”. In their profoundly anti-social, dystopian visions they actually think an armed citizenry could defend itself against the most powerful military in history. If their anti-social fantasies actually ever came to fruition they would need the U.S. military to fragment to stand a chance. Otherwise, they’d be a bunch of rednecks in the hills taking potshots at soldiers a la Afghanistan. Yeah, Hitler could have been stopped by a bunch of rubes with AR15s. lol

    • The ‘right to bear arms’ actually was first enumerated in the English Bill of Rights, which is part of the body of Canadian constitutional law, and was the archetype for the U.S. Bill of Rights. Note that authoritarian countries do not have such rights as either a right to keep arms, OR rights of free expression, etc, And note that guerilla warfare has been successful against the mightiest armies in the world, in conflicts ranging from the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, to the war in Kosovo. An unarmed population is at the mercy of the state, and an armed population is an important check on state excesses. As the people in the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, Burma, Bosnia, Kosovo, East Timor, Palestine and China (Tibet, East Turkestan/Xinjiang) have learned, without the right to bear arms you end up with no rights.

      • The cases you cite weren’t/haven’t been successful. Where they have been successful they required fragmentation of state military forces + outside (primarily U.S.) intervention (be it military force and/or aid and/or sanctions) or have lead to unending guerrilla warfare.

        The Warsaw uprising was crushed. No amount of AR15s would have helped them prevail against the full force of Nazi Germany. I mean would you seriously suggest that if only the Jews were better armed they could have fended off the German army?

        Kosovo would have been crushed if not for U.S. intervention.

        Bosnians would have been crushed if not for former Croat members of the Yugoslav army and, when the Croats turned against them, U.S. intervention.

        Palestine has been in a form of war for decades and decades. Actually, Palestine is a pretty good example. Facing the most powerful military in the region, in spite of outside support from Iran, etc., they’ve been thoroughly subjugated and lost significant ground since the 60s.

        The idea that a bunch of backwoods survivalists with a couple of AR15s could overthrow or do anything other than be a disruption to the U.S. state, without the U.S. military and government falling apart, and without significant outside support, is pure school boy fantasy.

        Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got nothing against survivalists. I’m outdoorsy myself. I just don’t fantasize. I don’t have delusions of grandeur about my role in waging war for freedom. I stopped that in grade 4.