Gabrielle Giffords eyes new N.Y. gun show background check

SARATOGA SPRINGS, New York Sun Oct 13, 2013 3:32pm EDT

Show organizer Dave Petronis (L) leads (2nd L-R) New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, and her husband Mark Kelly on a tour of the New Eastcoast Arms Collectors Associates arms fair in Saratoga Springs, New York October 13, 2013. REUTERS/Tim Roske/Pool

Show organizer Dave Petronis (L) leads (2nd L-R) New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, and her husband Mark Kelly on a tour of the New Eastcoast Arms Collectors Associates arms fair in Saratoga Springs, New York October 13, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Tim Roske/Pool

SARATOGA SPRINGS, New York (Reuters) - Former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was in New York on Sunday to tour her first gun show since being shot in the head to review new measures that require background checks for buyers.

Giffords and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, who describe themselves as supporters of the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which protects the right to bear arms, are lobbying to have similar steps adopted at gun shows around the United States.

The procedures, a voluntary deal between gunshow operators and New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, call for all gun buyers be cleared via the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

Such a move closes the so-called "gun show" loophole, which allowed show buyers to avoid the background checks they are required to go have when buying firearms at a retail outlet.

"It's great to be able to see people sell the firearms they have collected," Kelly said, noting that he and Giffords still have firearms in their home. "It's great for Gabby and I to see a system that works."

Giffords and 18 others, including a federal judge and a 9-year-old girl, were shot in January 2011 by Jared Lee Loughner during a constituents' meeting held in a supermarket parking lot. The judge and the child were among six people who died in the incident. Loughner pleaded guilty last November and was sentenced to life without parole.

"Stopping gun violence takes courage. The courage to do what's right. The courage of new ideas," said Giffords, a Democrat who resigned from office a year after the attack to focus on her recovery.

"Now is the time to come together, be responsible ... Be bold, be courageous, the nation is counting on you," she said, speaking in a halting fashion.

David Petronis, president of the New Eastcoast Arms Collectors Associates, which organized the show, said he has been performing background checks at his shows for 30 years.

He was less supportive of New York's SAFE Act, which was passed early this year following the mass shooting in nearby Newtown, Connecticut. It bans assault weapons and limits the size of ammunition magazines.

"I believe that (what) the attorney general has done with the gun shows is completely different than what the SAFE Act did to New York State itself," Petronis said. "I take more issue with the SAFE Act than what we agreed to with Schneiderman."

Members of a Second Amendment advocacy group called NY2A, who picketed outside the event, said they were unimpressed by the background check deal.

"What happened to is a tragedy," said Jake Palmateer, an organizer with the group. "However, we feel they are using the emotions connected with that tragic event to pursue a political agenda that damages the civil rights of all Americans."

(Editing by Scott Malone and Leslie Gevirtz)

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Comments (7)
RD137 wrote:
Why do people think that criminals are so dumb and ignorant? The majority of sellers at gun shows are licensed firearm dealers who HAVE to run background checks. So this tiny “loophole” gets closed off…criminals will just start buying their weapons somewhere else. This will not reduce violent crime, because criminals can always find a way to get weapons. To think otherwise, a person would have to be super naive.

Oct 13, 2013 6:40pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
RD137 wrote:
Why do people think that criminals are so dumb and ignorant? The majority of sellers at gun shows are licensed firearm dealers who HAVE to run background checks. So this tiny “loophole” gets closed off…criminals will just start buying their weapons somewhere else. This will not reduce violent crime, because criminals can always find a way to get weapons. To think otherwise, a person would have to be super naive.

Oct 13, 2013 6:40pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
CountryPride wrote:
Let’s infringe on letting innocent law abiding Americans fulfill their 2nd amendment rights but let the Department of “Justice” Eric Holder run guns to Mexican drug cartels and Obama run weapons to terrorists and Muslim dictators across the Middle East. By the way where is the justice for Brian Terry who was killed by one of Eric Holders guns? Pretty soon Obama will be giving AK-47′s to every illegal as a reward for crossing our border, along with amnesty and an unlimited EBT card. And if the government runs into financial problems, they will just block veterans from visiting open public memorials, but don’t worry illegals, your savior Obama is fighting for you and will roll out the red carpet wherever you are to do whatever you want at the expense of American citizens.

Oct 13, 2013 10:45pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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