Gabby Giffords Slams Congress for Embracing ‘Shameful Status Quo’ on Guns


President Barack Obama greets former Rep. Gabrielle “Gabby” Giffords and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, in the Oval Office after they testified at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence, Jan. 30, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.On the third anniversary of the Sandy Hook massacre, former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords argued that Americans should embrace “optimism” instead of fear while slamming Congress and the US gun lobby for encouraging “the shameful status quo we’ve grown to expect.”

In an op-ed for USA Today, Giffords, who was critically wounded by a gunshot wound to the head during a 2011 assassination attempt, lamented the 2012 attack in Newtown, CT. On that December day three years ago, a lone gunman opened fired at an elementary school, killing 20 children and 6 adults. Giffords also deplored political inaction since the massacre, writing:

“I know that this week, Congress will do exactly what its members have done every week since those 20 kindergartners and first-graders were murdered in their classrooms: nothing at all.

That’s cowardice, an embrace of the shameful status quo we’ve grown to expect from a Congress in the gun lobby’s grip. Many of my former colleagues are in the cold clutches of pessimism and its key ingredient: fear.”

Contrasting the “pessimism” of her former colleagues, Giffords wrote the “slain children were, as kids everywhere are, fundamentally optimistic. Every day at school, they were eager to learn new things. Every day at home, their bonds with their families and their traditions grew deeper.”

She also implored Congress and President Barack Obama to take action on gun reform, reminding Americans of their roles in standing up to the gun lobby. “The only things standing between us and that vital goal are Congress and the gun lobby,” Giffords wrote. “And it is just a matter of time until Congress comes around — and acts.”

“So let’s carry our elected officials in Washington along with us, buoyed by our grit and our hope and our optimism, just as Americans always have,” she concluded.

[Image via Pete Souza, Wikimedia Commons]

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