07/02/2013 11:44 am ET

Gabrielle Giffords Shoots Gun On Her Tour To Promote Background Checks For Firearm Purchases

Former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D) fired a gun in Las Vegas on Monday at the start of her seven-state tour with husband Mark Kelly to build support for background checks on firearms purchases, CNN reports. The couple is spending the week visiting states where senators voted both for and against new gun control legislation in April.

The "Rights and Responsibilities Tour" is sponsored by Americans for Responsible Solutions, an advocacy group that Giffords and Kelly formed in response to the December elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn. The tour includes stops in Nevada, Alaska, North Dakota, North Carolina, Ohio, Maine and New Hampshire, where the couple is presenting polling data they say supports their argument that stricter background checks will benefit pro-gun lawmakers.

"Some might consider me an unlikely advocate for gun rights because I sustained terrible injuries in a violent shooting," Giffords wrote in a July 1 op-ed in USA Today. "But I'm a patriot, and I believe the right to bear arms is a definitive part of our American heritage."

This isn't the first time Giffords and Kelly have defended gun rights while advocating for background checks. In a January op-ed in USA Today, the couple asked for "responsible changes" to gun laws.

"As a Western woman and a Persian Gulf War combat veteran who have exercised our Second Amendment rights, we don't want to take away your guns any more than we want to give up the two guns we have locked in a safe at home," Giffords and Kelly wrote in January. "What we do want is what the majority of NRA members and other Americans want: responsible changes in our laws to require responsible gun ownership and reduce gun violence."



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