Former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was in Minnesota yesterday to launch a coalition to prevent gun violence.
Giffords and her husband, retired NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, were in the Land of 10,000 Lakes to launch a “bipartisan” group called the Minnesota Coalition for Common Sense during a news conference at Augsburg College Thursday afternoon. At the first of three events in the state Thursday afternoon, Kelly said the goal of the coalition is to, “do something about gun violence … to say ‘enough.'”
“Stopping gun violence takes courage, the courage to do what’s right, the courage of new ideas,” Giffords said at the press conference. “I’ve seen great courage when my life was on the line. Now is the time to come together, be responsible. Democrats, Republicans, everyone. We must never stop fighting.”
Giffords and Kelly co-founded Americans for Responsible Solutions, which was formed to, “encourage elected officials to stand up for solutions to prevent gun violence and protect responsible gun ownership.”
Minnesota is the third state-based organization Giffords and Kelly have launched, with New Hampshire and Oregon being the first two they initiated. Kelly says the Minnesota-focused group will urge local leaders to close “loopholes” in state law that allow “dangerous people” to buy guns without a background check.
Among the coalition’s members are current and former law-enforcement officers, business leaders, veterans, community advocates, prosecutors, educators, and domestic violence prevention advocates to urge their leaders to “take action against gun violence.” The group has also registered two members, Nancy Haas and Patrick Hynes, registered as lobbyists for the coalition.
The state is also home to the Minnesota Gun Owners Civil Rights Alliance and the Minnesota Gun Owners Political Action Committee as well as open forums for gun owners and groups like Minnesotans for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.
Following the news conference, Giffords and Kelly hosted a round table discussion on gun violence, then toured an indoor gun range with police officers.