Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Breaking News

Gabby Giffords Eyes Curbs at N.Y. Gun Show

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.”

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.