The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

January 8, 2013

Giffords, Kelly launch gun control lobbying effort

(Continued)

The event has angered local gun-rights advocates, including an outgoing state senator who plans to gather outside the station and offer people cash for guns instead.

"They're stealing it — stealing it," said Frank Antenori, a Republican who was defeated in a congressional primary bid last year. "Can you name me one firearm in working condition that's worth $50 or less?"

Antenori and Kozachik accused each other of acting out of political motivations. Antenori said the councilman was sullying both the Tucson and Connecticut school shooting victims by the timing of the buyback. Kozachik said the outgoing legislator was just trying to keep his name in the news and remain relevant.

Tucson residents held events over the weekend to mark the anniversary of the Saturday morning when Loughner opened fire with a pistol with a 30-round magazine that he emptied in just 40 seconds.

Rep. Ron Barber, then a Giffords aide, was shot in the thigh and cheek, and went on to replace his boss in Congress. He supports an outright ban on high-capacity magazines and a new federal assault weapons ban while acknowledging there are millions of both already in circulation that will remain there.

"There's no way that those are going to be taken or collected - there's no way that's possible," Barber said Monday. "But if we can move forward toward controlling the accessibility or access to those magazines or assault rifles we can go a long way to minimizing or possibly preventing future tragedies."

Barber plans to mark the moment of the shooting at a private gathering with staff and family members. He will also visit a hospital to thank doctors who treated him and other victims and attend an evening prayer service.

Barber also is pushing for better mental health care and early intervention into school bullying, which he said can lead to serious mental health issues.

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