Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) helped President Barack Obama keep the issue of gun control front and center on Wednesday, penning an op-ed for the Aurora Sentinel ahead of the president's planned swing through neighboring Denver to talk about the state's newly passed firearms laws.
Giffords, who was shot in the head during a mass shooting in Tucson, Ariz. in 2011, has emerged -- along with her husband, Mark Kelly -- as a top spokesperson for gun control legislation in the wake of the December massacre at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn. In her op-ed, Giffords praised Colorado lawmakers for their recent passage of a set of gun control measures and urged Congress to build off the move with a push on universal background checks:
After I was shot, I focused on my recovery. But as I watched community after community struck by horrific shootings, and saw the special interests hogtie Congress, I grew frustrated. Finally, like so many of you, I said, “enough.” Like most Americans, I’m sick of the infighting in Washington -- I want to see our strong, independent voices in Congress come together and solve problems. In Colorado, your state legislators have rolled up their sleeves and made changes to keep you all safer. We should expect nothing less from the Senators and Representatives we send to represent us in Washington.
Hundreds of thousands of Americans have joined me and demanded responsible solutions to reduce gun violence and protect gun rights. Together we’re saying “no” to extremists and demanding something over 90 percent of Americans support: background checks to keep guns away from dangerous people.
On Wednesday, Obama is set to press anti-gun violence measures during his trip to Denver, where he'll deliver a speech and meet with law enforcement officials just miles away from the site of the 2011 mass shooting in Aurora.
(For more on Obama's Denver visit and the current state of the gun control debate, click over to the Associated Press.)