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Despite Gun Injury, Former Rep. Giffords Goes Shooting in Vegas | News

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Despite Gun Injury, Former Rep. Giffords Goes Shooting in Vegas
Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly.

LAS VEGAS -- Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords fired a weapon for the first time since a mentally ill man shot her more than two years ago. She chose a Clark County shooting range to pull the trigger.

A longtime gun owner, Giffords is now urging southern Nevadans to support expanded background checks. She believes it will stop more gun violence.

Giffords can only use her left hand, but that didn't stop her from hitting the target at the Clark County Shooting Complex. She and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, have always owned guns.

"I don't think there are many people out there who are stronger supporters of the Second Amendment than Gabby and I," Kelly said.

The couple is pushing for stronger gun background checks. They believe it will keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill.

"I've seen great courage when my life was on the line. Now is the time to come together. Be responsible," Giffords said.

The couple says some people knew the man, who shot Giffords at an Arizona grocery store, was mentally ill, but there was nothing in place to stop him from getting a firearm.

"If that information made it into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System he probably would have been prevented from buying a gun at the sporting goods store where he purchased the 9 millimeter," Kelly said. "I'm not saying he would have never got a gun, but a guy like that, maybe if you just slowed him down enough, or a guy like the shooter in Aurora, maybe at some point, somebody would have intervened and got him some mental health care."

Not everyone agrees. The National Rifle Association is adamantly against expanded checks. Nevada Senator Dean Heller also voted against stronger measures. He said he couldn't support legislation that infringes on the right to bear arms.

Giffords will soon tour six other states in her effort to expand gun background checks. She chose Clark County to kick off the tour, in part, because of the high number of local gun owners.