Gabrielle Giffords To Push For Background Checks On Capitol Hill

04/12/2013 11:10 am ET

Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) will push for background check legislation by seeking meetings with a number of Republicans and Democrats, according to NBC News.

Her efforts come as the Senate begins debate on background check legislation next week, including a compromise background check amendment co-authored by Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). A Republican-led attempt to filibuster the bill failed Thursday by a 68-31 vote. However, the vote to continue debate does not mean that all 68 senators support potential legislation, and the proposal of multiple amendments seems likely to prolong the process.

Giffords, who was shot in the head by a gunman in January 2011 and resigned a year later to focus on her rehabilitation, could be a powerful advocate for such legislation and may serve as a counter to the National Rifle Association.

She will face resistance from senators who are wary of more regulations, including a small group of centrist Democrats. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) told The New York Times that she planned to support her state's interests. "In our part of the country, this isn’t an issue,” she said. “This is a way of life. This is how people feel, and it is extraordinarily difficult to explain that, especially to grieving parents.”

Giffords, who is still recovering her ability to speak, said 80 words at a Senate hearing on gun control in January. "Too many children are dying," she said. "Too many children. We must do something. It will be hard, but the time is now."

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