The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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January 8, 2013

Giffords, Kelly launch gun control lobbying effort

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TUCSON, Ariz. —

"This country is known for using its determination and ingenuity to solve problems, big and small. Wise policy has conquered disease, protected us from dangerous products and substances, and made transportation safer. But when it comes to protecting our communities from gun violence, we're not even trying — and for the worst of reasons."

They hope to start a national conversation about gun violence and raise funds for political activity, so "legislators will no longer have reason to fear the gun lobby."

"The children of Sandy Hook Elementary School and all victims of gun violence deserve fellow citizens and leaders who have the will to prevent gun violence in the future," they wrote.

As a House member, Giffords was a centrist Democrat who represented much of liberal-leaning Tucson but also more conservative, rural areas. The former state legislator voiced support for gun rights and said she owned a Glock pistol.

Tucson will mark the anniversary by ringing bells across the city at the moment that Jared Lee Loughner opened fire at a supermarket where Giffords was meeting with constituents.

But even on a day of remembrance, residents won't be able to escape the gun debate.

City Councilman Steve Kozachik has organized a gun turn-in program at a local police station Tuesday for people who have decided they no longer want weapons in their homes. He's hoping it helps bring added pressure as Congress and Arizona's Legislature come back into session to "keep the conversation" alive.

People giving up their guns will receive $50 gift cards from Safeway — the grocery store chain where Giffords was shot in the parking lot. The grocer contributed $1,000 of the nearly $10,000 Kozachik raised.

He said that as the shooting fades from the public's mind, issues like controlling the sale of large capacity magazines and keeping guns from the mentally ill need attention.

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