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The group, Americans for Responsible Solutions, urges actions including a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and seeks to raise $20 million for the 2014 congressional elections, matching the National Rifle Association’s spending in last November’s election.
Emily Nottingham, whose son, Gabe Zimmerman, was killed the day of Giffords’ shooting, choked up when she talked about the need for tighter controls. The current system of background checks lets too many people with mental illness or criminal pasts slip through, Nottingham said.
“That system is riddled with holes. Bullet holes,” she said.
Giffords and Kelly are both gun owners and strong supporters of the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees Americans’ right to own guns. Kelly said the drive was focused on public safety, and closing loopholes that allow unchecked Internet and gun-show purchases would save lives.
More than 1.7 million people have failed gun store background checks since they have been required, Kelly said, and he wondered how many then went to gun shows to buy weapons.
“I suspect there were plenty,” Kelly said. “How many violent crimes, how many senseless deaths could have been prevented?”
Last November, Loughner was sentenced to life in prison. He received seven consecutive life terms plus 140 years in prison, without the possibility of parole, under a deal with prosecutors that spared him the death penalty.