9 Jan 2013

Giffords launches new gun control campaign

12:33 pm on 9 January 2013

Former US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords who survived an assassination attempt two years ago, has launched a campaign to raise money for gun control efforts.

A shooting at Sandy Hook School in Newtown, Connecticut, on 14 December in which 20 children and six adults were killed, has fuelled a national debate.

Ms Giffords and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, both gun owners, wrote in USA Today on Tuesday:

"In response to a horrific series of shootings... Congress has done something quite extraordinary - nothing at all."

The couple also highlighted the influence of the gun lobby, adding:

"Achieving reforms to reduce gun violence and prevent mass shootings will mean matching gun lobbyists in their reach and resources."

''Until now, the gun lobby's political contributions, advertising and lobbying have dwarfed spending from anti-gun violence groups. No longer," Ms Giffords wrote.

The couple have made it clear they do not intend to take away guns from responsible owners, but a BBC correspondent says their article is a declaration of war on a powerful vested interest.

It is two years since Ms Giffords was shot in the head during a meeting with constituents in Tucson, Arizona.

She is still recovering and her husband did most of the talking in an interview on ABC TV to be broadcast on Tuesday.

On Friday, she visited Newtown, Connecticut, where the school shooting occurred, and met families of the dead.

The White House has pledged to look for ways to curb guns and is due to make proposals by the end of January. Vice-President Joe Biden is leading the effort.