Las Vegas CBS KXNT – Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords launched a seven-state tour on Monday at the Clark Count Shooting Complex. Accompanied by her husband, Giffords spent about an hour on the firing range, and then held a press briefing on their campaign for universal background check legislation.

Giffords’ husband, Mark Kelly, cited polls showing that Nevadans support tighter gun control, despite a high rate of firearm ownership. According to surveys commissioned by Giffords and Kelly, 84 percent of the state’s residents support expanding background checks on gun purchases, and extending the law to internet and gun show purchases.

Kelly expressed disappointment these changes failed recently in the United States Senate.

Giffords, who is still working to recover from brain injuries sustained in a 2011 mass shooting, spoke briefly, offering a few sentences of encouragement for Democrats and Republicans to work together.

Giffords was one of 19 people injured when a man opened fire in a Safeway parking lot where she was greeting constituents in her congressional district. Six people were killed.

The shooter was a man who had shown signs of mental illness in his daily life, Kelly said. A background check would have prevented Jared Loughner from purchasing the 9 millimeter weapon he bought at a sporting goods store, and later used in the shooting, Kelly said.

Loughner would probably have figured out that he could get a weapon online or at a gun show, Kelly said, but the background check might have slowed him down sufficiently that others could have intervened to help with his mental illness.


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