Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords stars in a new television ad–the first from her super PAC Americans for Responsible Solutions–in which she urges Congress to act immediately on legislating universal background checks for gun sales.
The 30-second spot opens with somber black-and-white images of post-shooting vigils in Aurora, Colo., Tucson, Ariz., Oak Creek, Wis., and Newtown, Conn. Giffords, whose speech is still affected from having been shot in the head in Tucson just over two years ago, narrates the whole thing and appears alongside her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly.
“We have a problem,” she declares, “where we shop, where we pray, where our children go to school. But there are solutions we can agree on, even gun owners like us. Take it from me, Congress must act. Let’s get this done.”
Although Giffords does not mention any lawmakers by name, it is clear that she is speaking to the top four congressional leaders in particular. The ad is set to air in the hometowns of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
The spot will also run in the Washington market before and after President Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night. Giffords and Kelly will attend the address as guests of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Rep. Ron Barber, D-Ariz., who was also shot in the Tucson massacre that left six people dead. Barber succeeded Giffords in the House this year.
While McCain has signaled support for expanded background checks, he disagrees with Giffords’ push to limit the capacity on magazines. In January, McCain told CNN that a ban on high-capacity magazines as well as on assault weapons would be meaningless in terms of reducing gun-related deaths.
Giffords and Kelly launched their political action committee, Americans for Responsible Solutions, last month in order to put pressure on congressional leaders to act on measures that reduce gun violence. Prior to the release of her ad, Giffords voiced a similar message of urgency when she spoke in January before the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on gun control proposals. “You must act,” she said. “Be bold. Be courageous. Americans are counting on you.”
Asked whether she would feel bad starring in a political advertisement against her colleagues who declined to stand with her on guns, Giffords said “yes,” it would be hard. “Sometimes you have to do things that are hard,” said her husband.
Watch Americans for Responsible Solutions first ad: “Let’s Get This Done.”