Former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords is disappointed Congress can’t get over partisan differences and pass a sweeping gun control agenda. Of course, it wouldn’t be called that. It would be called “commonsense gun safety laws.”
That’s rich. Giffords made the comments to Axios bemoaning that gun control legislation hasn’t been achieved. Giffords, of course, was the victim of a drug-addled and insane attacker that killed several others 10 years ago. Just one of many tragedies caused by our nation’s inadequate mental health system. She characterized the gun divide as “scary,” and Axios reported she is “terrified” for the safety of her husband, U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.). She invoked the Jan. 6 violence on Capitol Hill as a reason to drive forward on gun control.
“We need to combat the increasing polarization and partisanship in our country if we want to make meaningful progress on a whole host of critical issues,” Giffords told Axios.
That’s an interesting choice of words. Protecting fundamental God-given individual rights, in her estimation, is partisan. It’s “scary” that lawmakers would value the ability of Americans to keep and bear arms to protect themselves against senseless attackers instead of upending the Bill of Rights.
No one doubts Giffords’ sincere concerns for safety. Her convictions that Congress hasn’t and can’t act, however, is patently false. She knows this.
Congress passed, and President Donald Trump signed, the Fix NICS Act, which compelled federal agencies and provided the states with resources to submit all disqualifying criminal and adjudicated mental health records to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). It was named for NSSF’s FIXNICS® campaign that’s changed the law in 16 states and resulted in a 270 percent increase in adjudicated mental health records submissions since 2013, up from 1.7 million to over 6.14 million today.
That legislation was overwhelmingly bipartisan, with 78 Senate co-sponsors. It was led by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.). The two couldn’t be more opposite when it comes to gun rights. This, though, is where they found common ground.
There’s more legislation out there like this too, including the Federal Firearm Licensee (FFL) Protection Act. The NSSF-supported legislation would strengthen and enhance criminal penalties for thefts of firearms from firearm retailers. This is in addition to firearm-industry driven Real Solutions® that prevent firearm straw purchases, increase firearm retailer security and intervene to stop firearm suicides.
More Gun Control
NSSF has always been willing to discuss difficult issues, as long as the rights of law-abiding Americans to keep and bear arms is respected. That’s not the answer Giffords gun control group has given. Giffords gave America David Chipman, their lobbyist. He’s President Joe Biden’s nominee to be director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). Chipman embraces radical gun control ideas, including banning Modern Sporting Rifles (MSRs), or at least twisting the National Firearms Act to compel those who own the 20 million-plus already in circulation to register them and pay an ownership tax on them.
It was recently confirmed by The Reload that Chipman made racially insensitive remarks about fellow ATF agents, prompting Sen. Mitch McConnell to demand The White House withdraw his nomination and Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee to call for a new hearing.
This is also the same man who falsely claimed that .50-caliber rifles downed helicopters during the ATF’s siege at Waco and denigrated gun buyers last year as “Tiger King” and Zombie apocalypse preppers.
Giffords, and the gun control group bearing her name, can hardly point fingers and say gun control is a partisan problem when they’ve been stoking that fire.
Giffords tweeted just over a week ago, “The biggest opponent to David Chipman’s nomination for ATF Director? It’s not gun owners—it’s the gun industry. Chipman’s confirmation is literally a matter of life or death—but to the NSSF, it’s about their ability to sell more weapons.”
More recently, Giffords tweeted that NSSF is, “lying, fearmongering, and promoting gun extremism.”
That’s hardly dialing back the polarization. Giffords gun control isn’t interested in it. Giffords recently hired Ryan Busse, a former little-known firearm industry executive, who found he could make money trashing the firearm industry. He’s joined Giffords as a senior advisor and in just a couple more months, he’s releasing a book detailing all his gun industry grudges.
That’s a page borrowed from Sen. Kelly. He attempted to purchase an AR-15 from an Arizona store in 2013 to demonstrate how “easy it was” to buy the rifle. It was so easy, the retailer ended the sale when he learned it wouldn’t be for Kelly’s personal use, but to turn it over to the police in a publicity stunt.
Gun control isn’t serious about real answers to difficult problems. They feign interest in “commonsense” solutions, but the answer is always more gun control. It’s never to address issues with no-bail policies, police funding, criminal accountability or ever the notion that each and every law-abiding American has the right to defend themselves.
They can focus on theatrics. The firearm industry will continue working on Real Solutions.
Larry Keane is the senior vice-president for government and public affairs, assistant secretary and general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation.