(Fixes garble, paragraph 6)
By T.G. Branfalt Jr.
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. Oct 13 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
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
(Editing by Scott Malone and Leslie Gevirtz)