Gabrielle Giffords, husband pen book urging gun laws to save lives

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 11, 2014 2:10 PM

By David Schwartz

PHOENIX (Reuters) - Former U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who was gravely wounded in a 2011 shooting rampage, has written a book with her husband "to rouse the long-overdue conversation" for gun control, a cause she has focused on since leaving office, her publisher said on Tuesday.

The book, "Enough: Our Fight to Keep America Safe From Gun Violence," builds on an opinion piece by Giffords published last April in The New York Times after gun control legislation stalled in the U.S. Senate, according to a statement from Scribner, the publisher.

Giffords in the piece criticized senators for failing to enact the measures, which she argued could have prevented future mass shootings, and she accused them of being beholden to the gun rights lobby.

The legislation had been proposed in the aftermath of the December 2012 shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, that left 20 first-graders and six staff members dead.

"'Enough' was one of the first words Gabby said to me after we learned about the Newtown, Connecticut, massacre," Giffords' husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, said in a statement announcing the book, to be released in June by Scribner.

"As Second Amendment supporters and gun owners ourselves, we hope our book rouses the long-overdue conversation our country needs to make responsible changes to our gun laws so that no more precious lives are lost," he added.

Giffords was shot in the head on January 8, 2011, by gunman Jared Loughner, who opened fire during a "Congress on Your Corner" event at a Tucson, Arizona, supermarket. Six people were killed and 12 others were wounded.

Loughner, a college dropout with a history of mental illness, pleaded guilty in 2012 and was sentenced to life in prison.

Giffords, an Arizona Democrat who resigned from Congress two years ago to focus on her recovery, has been lobbying along with Kelly for tougher gun control laws, including expanded background checks and barring stalkers and domestic abusers from buying guns.

Giffords and Kelly formed a group aimed at curbing gun violence, Americans for Responsible Solutions, and have spent heavily on media advertisements and political campaigns in select states to press their efforts.

Susan Moldow, president of Scribner Publishing Group, said in a statement that the new book will offer "a rare look at Gabby's astonishing progress" since the mass shooting in Arizona that helped spark a national debate on gun control.

Giffords's recovery has been widely chronicled since the shooting, most recently when she went skydiving last month in southern Arizona to mark the third anniversary of the shooting.

In another opinion piece earlier this year in the New York Times, she wrote that she still struggles to speak, has vision problems and that her right arm and leg have been "paralyzed." But she said there is progress in moving the arm.

Giffords told NBC's "Today" show she is working on her Spanish and again playing the French horn.

This is the second book by Giffords and Kelly. The first, published by Scribner in 2011, detailed the couple's lives together and her life and recovery after being shot.

(Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis and Leslie Adler)