An assassination attempt just two years ago leaves her disabled, but not disheartened. A handful of locals get to take audience with a special North Dakota visitor.
"Hello North Dakota" -- and Alaska and Ohio and a few other select States.
Former U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) is touring key locations to share her message of gun control. "Stopping gun violence takes courage. The courage to do what's right. The courage of new ideas. I've seen great courage when my life was on the line," says Giffords.
Having your life on the line is something Giffords knows all too well. In 2011, she was shot in the head at a supermarket near Tucson while meeting with constituents. Now, she's reaching out in States where elected leaders, such as Senator Heidi Heitkamp, voted earlier this year against expanded background checks for firearms. Heitkamp believes focusing on mental health issues and shoring up the National Instant Criminal Background System is a better approach than that supported by Giffords.
One North Dakotan, who describes himself as a former NRA member, was among the few to dine with the Congresswoman during her Mandan, North Dakota, visit. "The strength that she has to take this issue on the road and say 'we've got to change things,' is just absolutely amazing," says Jim Fuglie.
Giffords' husband, Mark Kelly, a former Astronaut and U.S. Navy Captain, is also a gun control advocate. While both are gun owners, they feel laws need to be strengthened. "We're about seven months away from what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School where 20 first graders were murdered in their classrooms. And to date, our national response to that tragedy has been to do nothing," says Kelly.
But critics assert people intent on committing crime are not going to concern themselves with gun laws. Giffords and Kelly believe background checks are a forceful deterrent. Says Kelly, "we shouldn't make it easy for criminals to get guns. If you think about it, a background check is a good idea in a gun store. I don't think anybody has an issue with that. Why don't we think it's a good idea at a gun show?"
Giffords adds, "Be bold. Be courageous. The nation is counting on you."
The next stop for Giffords and Kelly is Fargo, where they're expected to be later this evening. Gabrielle Giffords was a Democratic representative from Arizona from 2007 to 2012.
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