Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who survived a gunshot to the head, and her husband Mark Kelly, a retired NASA Space Shuttle astronaut, are backing the Ohio Coalition for Common Sense, a new organization that will lobby for policies to prevent gun violence.
“We are here to say one simple thing: ‘Enough.’ We are here to say it’s time for our leaders to do more to address the gun violence crisis that is tearing our communities apart and that makes our country and Ohio stand out in the worst of ways,” Kelly said at a press conference in Columbus on Wednesday.
The new group includes gun owners, veterans, police, domestic violence experts and business leaders. They’ll have their work cut out for them. Over the past 15 years, Ohio lawmakers have expanded gun rights and restricted local jurisdictions from passing gun control ordinances.
Kelly released a report that says gun violence costs Ohio taxpayers more than $540 million a year in health care, police and courts, work-related expenses.
Giffords and Kelly, best selling authors, founded Americans for Responsible Solutions in 2013, two years after Giffords and 18 others were shot on January 2011 at a public event outside a Tuscon supermarket. Giffords was critically injured. Six victims died.
Since then, Giffords and Kelly have emerged as national figures in the debate over violence and access to guns. Americans for Responsible Solutions advocates for more background checks, stronger laws against gun trafficking and straw purchases and more research into the causes of gun violence and keeping guns away from domestic abusers.
Related: Hundreds killed by guns in workplace
On average, nearly 115,000 people in America each year are shot in murders, assaults, suicides, suicide attempts, accidental shootings and police intervention — almost 34,000 of them die, according to the Brady Campaign, a non-profit that advocates for stricter background checks for gun purchases and more prevention efforts to curb gun violence. It’s named after Jim Brady, White House press secretary who was shot in the head in the assassination attempt against Ronald Reagan in March 1981.
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