Gabrielle Giffords takes part in a news conference in Manchester, N.H., July 5, 2013.
Mary Schwalm/AP

Giffords asks: What is Congress afraid of?

Updated

Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords on Tuesday night will ask her former colleagues in Washington what prevents them from agreeing to implement tougher laws on gun safety.

Giffords, a Democrat who resigned from Congress after being shot by a gunman three years ago in Tucson, Ariz., will appear in a 30-second television commercial during President Obama’s State of the Union address. The ad, titled “Tell Congress: It’s too dangerous to wait,” reminds Americans that leaders neglected to pass gun reform since the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012.

“What is Congress afraid of?” Giffords asks in the opening scene of the advertisement.

“Congress is afraid of the gun lobby,” she later answers.

The president focused much of his 2013 State of the Union speech on curbing gun violence, while speaking among an audience that included Newtown parents who lost their first-graders to bullets.

But support for gun-control laws fell sharply in the year after the December 2012 massacre in Newtown, Conn., as 52% of respondents said they favor tougher legislation, according to a poll conducted last month. Comparably, 61% of Americans favored reform two months after the shooting.

With help from her husband, Capt. Mark Kelly, Giffords established Americans for Responsible Solutions, an anti-gun group that aims to push Congress to act. A day before the one-year mark of the tragedy at Sandy Hook last month, the organization released an online advertisement that also urged Washington to pass reform.

Giffords and Kelly testified in Olympia, Wash., on Tuesday in favor of an initiative to expand background checks for gun buyers.

The president will deliver this year’s speech on Tuesday night at 9 p.m. Eastern. Giffords’ new commercial will appear nationwide on MSNBC and CNN.

Craig Melvin, 1/27/14, 1:28 PM ET

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Giffords asks: What is Congress afraid of?

Updated