The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

January 8, 2013

Giffords, Kelly launch gun control lobbying effort

(Continued)

When asked by Diane Sawyer about when such violence happens to school children, Giffords responded: "Enough."

Newtown Selectman Jim Gaston, who was among the officials who met with Giffords and her husband last Friday when they visited, said he many others in town are behind her efforts. "I think she'll find support from the vast majority of my fellow Newtowners," Gaston said.

Gaston said he has a couple rifles himself and has always enjoyed shooting, but there is no reason for civilians to have semiautomatic weapons.

An attorney who lives in the Sandy Hook section of Newtown, Monte Frank, is organizing a bicycle ride from Sandy Hook to Washington, perhaps in March, to call for stronger gun control laws. He said he is eager to help Giffords anyway he can.

"It's been two years now that she was shot and people were killed. I would have thought that Congress would have done something when one of their own was the victim of unnecessary gun violence," Frank said.

In Tucson, residents rang bells at 10:11 a.m. — the moment a mentally ill man using a handgun with an extended magazine opened fire on Giffords as she met with constituents in 2011 outside a Safeway supermarket. Mayor Jonathan Rothschild rang a bell at a fire station 19 times — one for each victim.

At the gun events, Kozachik, the councilman, said that as the Tucson shooting fades from the public's mind, issues like controlling the sale of large-capacity magazines and keeping guns from the mentally ill need attention.

"This gave us the opportunity to keep the conversation going on a very sensitive day in this community," he said.

About 200 firearms, many of them old, some inoperable, were turned in during the event, police said. They were set to be destroyed later in the day. Kozachik said he handed out about $10,000 worth of gift cards from the grocery store chain Safeway.

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