Giffords, NSSF Spar Over Gabby Giffords' Views On Gun Ownership

(Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP)

The gun control group Giffords is in high dudgeon over a recent column by National Shooting Sports Foundation senior vice president and general counsel Larry Keane, in which he declares that the former congresswoman isn’t just interested in imposing universal background checks, but “to eliminate lawful gun ownership.” On Twitter, the Giffords account declared that Keane’s statement defamed the gun control champion, while accusing Keane of wanting to become the “new face of the gun lobby.”

There’s a lot to unpack here, but let’s start with the claim that Gabby Giffords supports “responsible gun ownership,” which is why she supports universal background checks. As Giffords well knows, requiring background checks on all private transfers of firearms doesn’t prevent a single illegal transfer from taking place. At best these laws can serve as a tool for prosecutors to use after a crime has been discovered, but for the most part the law is simply ignored by prosecutors. In the first year that New Mexico’s universal background check law was in place, for instance, there wasn’t a single arrest or prosecution for violating the law. Meanwhile, violent crime in New Mexico has gone up since the law was implemented.

Every month this year to date, there have been more homicides in Albuquerque than in the same months in 2020 or 2019, according to data from the Albuquerque Police Department. This trend means the city could be on the way to setting a new record for the most homicides in a single year in Albuquerque.

In April, KRQE reported that homicides in Albuquerque were outpacing previous years by roughly 75%. Updated data shows that the rate of homicides per month has remained high into the summer of 2021.

Criminals aren’t paying any attention to universal background check laws. Instead, it’s the same responsible gun owners that Giffords claims to support who are impacted, by risking a criminal penalty if the sell or loan a gun to a longtime neighbor or friend without putting them through a criminal background check beforehand.

Of course, the same is true of most of the other policies that Giffords supports. Under the ban on modern sporting rifles that the group and its leader is demanding, legal gun owners would be turned into federal felons if they didn’t register their lawfully-purchased rifles with the federal government. Giffords wants to make it a criminal offense to possess the most common ammunition magazines, treat ammunition like firearms under federal law, impose gun rationing on purchases of firearms, and many other policies that are aimed squarely at legal gun owners, including suing gun manufacturers and blaming them for the actions of criminals.

Giffords claims that since their leader is a gun owner herself, there’s no way she could be in favor of eliminating lawful gun ownership, which doesn’t make much sense. I hate to break it to the gun control group, but it’s quite possible to own something and still want to ban it in the future. There were plenty of politicians who enjoyed a drink or two who voted in favor of Prohibition a century ago. just as we have politicians today who want to ban fossil fuels while flying on Air Force One and using gas-guzzling SUVs in their presidential motorcade.

And as Larry Keane pointed out in his op-ed at NSSF, whether or not Giffords is a gun owner, she wants to make life extraordinarily difficult for gun owners and gun makers alike.

Giffords ignores these truths so America doesn’t uncover the truth of her ultimate goal. Giffords wants to ban MSRs, the most popular-selling centerfire rifle in America, and standard capacity magazines. She supports President Biden’s goal of repealing the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), so activist lawyers can sue the firearm industry into oblivion for the actions of criminals. She supports gun registries so every law-abiding gun owner is on a government watchlist. Giffords backs the expanded use of so-called “red flag” laws that would do more than disarm gun owners, these laws would also deny them Second Amendment rights without Due Process. She wants to enact age-based gun bans, to unconstitutionally deny young adults under 21 the ability to exercise their Second Amendment rights.

If Gabrielle Giffords got her way with every one of her group’s policy goals, it would be impossible for American citizens to legally exercise their right to keep and bear arms, if only because all of the gun manufacturers would be put out of business and home-built firearms would be banned. Giffords can claim that their boss doesn’t want to end gun ownership, but that would be the result if she achieved her objectives. There are tens of millions of responsible gun owners across the United States, and Giffords (both the organization and the individual) aims to criminalize their behavior, not protect their right to keep and bear arms.