Giffords spoke of the risks that women face from domestic violence
and stalkers as she called for increased background checks for gun
"Criminals who have guns, stalkers who have guns, abusers who have
guns that make them violent are an issue – for mothers, for
families, for me and you,” Giffords told a panel discussion held at
the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington. "Women can lead the way."
After she was shot in the head during a rampage in Tucson, Arizona,
in 2011, Giffords recovered but was left with injuries including a
limp and a partially paralyzed right arm.
Giffords' husband, Mark Kelly, who appeared with her at the panel
event, mentioned that the couple own guns themselves, but they back
increased background checks to "keep guns out of the hands of those
who will stalk and abuse it."
In April 2013, a handful of Senate Democrats joined Republicans to
block a bill that would have expanded background checks to online
and gun-show sales just four months after a mass elementary school
shooting in Newtown, Connecticut brought gun control issues back to
the public debate.
The National Rifle Association gun rights lobby group had warned
lawmakers that the background checks would lead to a national
registry in requiring checks for sales and gifts between family and
Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar, who participated in the
panel with Giffords, last year introduced a bill that would prevent
people convicted of stalking or who have a restraining order against
them from purchasing guns. The legislation would also expand the
definition of domestic violence to dating partners, who Klobuchar
said are often excluded.
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During the panel, Sarah Engle of Wisconsin told of a former
boyfriend who shot and killed her mother in 2008 after holding Engle
hostage for a night, raping her and shooting her in the head.
"I’m living proof of how important it is that we do everything we
can to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers," Engle said.
Gun violence against women has been in the news after a shooter in
Isla Vista, California, killed himself and six others and wounded 13
near the campus of the University of California at Santa Barbara in
May. Shooter Elliot Rodger had emailed plans to several people
beforehand, stating his intention to get revenge on women for
(Editing by Caren Bohan; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)
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