By John Powers | Photographed by Norman Jean Roy | Vogue
When Gabrielle Giffords heard about the shooting of 20 first-graders at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, last December, she decided enough was enough.
Like everyone else that day, she knew that gun violence is a national epidemic—the Sandy Hook massacre came in the wake of the theater killings in Aurora, Colorado, five months earlier (not to mention fourteen other mass shootings last year alone). But unlike most of us, Giffords knew firsthand how guns can change your whole life in an instant. Her authority was born of cruel experience. She and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, concluded they could no longer delay confronting the issue. “We realized,” he tells me, “that now is the time. We have to do something.”
The interview with Gabby Giffords and husband Mark Kelly appears in the March issue of Vogue.
Eliza Collins | USA Today
In the wake of several recent mass shootings, thousands of people gathered Saturday in front of the Capitol for a silent march urging Congress to act on legislation to control guns. Despite chilly temperatures and snow-covered ground, supporters came from around the country came to make their statement.
About 100 residents of Newtown, Conn., took part in the march, which was organized in response to the December shooting there that killed 20 first-graders and six teachers.
One day after President Obama unveiled the administration’s plan to curb gun violence, Vice President Joe Biden today defended their intentions, answering critics who have spoken out against the plan for potentially infringing on the Second Amendment rights of Americans.
“The president and I support the Second Amendment,” Biden said definitively.
Biden, who’s led the task force on gun violence since the December shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, noted that he owns guns.
“I have two shotguns, a 20-gauge and a 12-gauge shotgun,” he said. Later in the speech he said his son Beau was a better shot than he is but that is because Beau is in the Army.
Biden spoke today before the annual U.S. Conference of Mayors’ meeting in Washington, D.C. Not everyone in the audience, Biden noted today, agrees with recommendations the White House put forward yesterday. But he defended the administration’s move to push this issue, at one point addressing the roomful of mayors as if he were speaking to them individually, saying that “murder rates in both of our towns are … well beyond … what’s remotely tolerable for a civilized circumstance.”
“We’re going to take this fight to the halls of Congress,” he said. “We’re going to take it beyond that. We’re going to take it to the American people. We’re going to go around the country making our case, and we’re going to let the voices, the voice, of the American people be heard. ”
Biden again noted that there will not be consensus across the nation, given cultural differences among the states. In many states, he added, hunting is “big deal.”
The only unpopular policy idea to help stop gun violence is the only one that’s really been enacted since the Newtown school shooting. A Pew Research Center poll released Monday finds that a majority of Americans support eight of the major gun-related proposals floated both nationally and at the state and schoolboard level since the December shooting: background checks for all gun sales, blocking the mentally ill from buying guns, a federal gun sale database, armed guards or police in schools, a semi-automatic weapons ban, an assault-style weapons ban, a high capacity magazine ban, and a ban on buying ammo online. That’s right, even the National Rifle Association’s proposal to put an armed officer in every single one of America’s 99,000 public schools has the support of 64 percent of Americans. But a majority opposes the one gun-related proposal that seems to have the most momentum — 57 percent of Americans oppose giving teachers and school officials guns in in schools.
While the issue of gun control remains divisive, there are clear areas of agreement when it comes to a number of gun policy proposals. Fully 85% of Americans favor making private gun sales and sales at gun shows subject to background checks, with comparable support from Republicans, Democrats and independents. Similarly, 80% support laws to prevent mentally ill people from purchasing guns, with broad support across party lines.
But this bipartisan consensus breaks down when it comes to other proposals. Two-thirds of Americans (67%) favor creating a federal database to track gun sales, but there is a wide partisan divide between Democrats (84%) and Republicans (49%). A smaller majority of the public (55%) favors a ban on assault-style weapons; Independents (53%), Democrats (69%) also are far more likely than Republicans (44%) to support this. Similar partisan divides exist when it comes to banning high-capacity ammunition clips or the sale of ammunition online.
By David Nakamura, John Cohen The Washington Post
Most Americans support tough new measures to combat gun violence, including a ban on assault weapons and posting armed guards at every school, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
More than half of all Americans — 52 percent in the new poll — say the Newtown, Conn., shootings made them more supportive of gun control; just 5 percent say they are now less apt to back tighter restrictions. Most also are at least somewhat worried about a mass shooting in their own community, with concern jumping to 65 percent among those with school-age children at home.