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Gabrielle Giffords pushes for 'common sense' gun control in NH visit

By KIMBERLEY HAAS
Union Leader Correspondent

December 15. 2015 8:40PM
Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was in Dover Tuesday afternoon talking about gun issues. She was shot in the head during an assassination attempt in 2011. (KIMBERLEY HAAS)

DOVER — Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords said Tuesday it takes courage to fight for common sense solutions to gun control.

“Fight, fight, fight,” Giffords said during a law enforcement roundtable at the McConnell Center. “Be bold. Be courageous. The nation is counting on you.”

Giffords was in Dover with her husband, Mark Kelly. They are the co-founders of Americans for Responsible Solutions. The couple traveled to New Hampshire from their home state of Arizona to announce support for the Granite State Coalition for Common Sense.

Giffords, who survived an assassination attempt in 2011 when a gunman opened fire at a supermarket in Tucson, Ariz., where she was meeting with constituents, said Democrats and Republicans have to come together to protect the nation from gun violence.

Kelly expressed his frustration in dealing with those who create the nation’s laws. He said politicians admit to Giffords that better gun laws would save lives, but they refuse to vote for them because they will lose elections.

Farmington Police Chief John Drury told those at the roundtable that every time there is a mass shooting, such as the one in San Bernardino, Calif., he sees an increase in requests for concealed weapons permits. In the past few weeks, Drury’s department has had 18 such requests.

Mark Kelly and Gabrielle Giffords, co-founders of Americans for Responsible Solutions, listen to prosecutor Patricia LaFrance speak about how guns are used to control and threaten victims of domestic violence. (KIMBERLEY HAAS)

The population of Farmington is approximately 7,000 people.

Those at the roundtable talked about the “good guy with a gun” mentality, and said it is unsafe for the good guy. If police arrive at the scene of a major event, and see a person holding a firearm, how are they supposed to know that is a good guy, they asked.

Prosecutor Patricia LaFrance spoke to Kelly and Giffords about guns and domestic violence. She has experience prosecuting cases in Hillsborough and Rockingham counties.

A firearm was used in 48 percent of the state’s domestic violence homicides from 2001 to 2010, according to state statistics. Domestic violence was a causal factor in 92 percent of the state’s homicide-suicides during the same time period.

LaFrance said domestic violence is all about control, and perpetrators often use guns to threaten their victims. That is part of the reason why anyone convicted of a domestic violence simple assault cannot carry a firearm, she said.

The group agreed to enforce the laws on the books and push for more protections for the public.

Giffords and Kelly were also in Portsmouth and Concord Tuesday talking about gun issues.


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