A cropped photo of former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords posing with an AR-15 is the latest attention-grabber in the debate over gun control.
The photo surfaced March 13 in a blog maintained by a Tucson radio talk show host. The blog gave information that this was the same weapon Giffords' husband Mark Kelly had purchased earlier in the month, leading many to think that he had bought it for her. In fact, the Giffords photo was taken more than two years ago.
The talk show blog called Kelly a hypocrite because he advocates for gun control, yet he and Giffords own multiple weapons. That characterization led to a new posting on Giffords' Facebook page. The page shows the original photo – and another - with an explanation:
"Here are two photos of me that a conservative blog has dug up. I remember both of these days fondly. The first is at the Tucson Police Department firing range. They invited me to test rifles and Tasers that they bought with federal funds, which I helped secure. The second was in Afghanistan while I was visiting with our troops serving abroad. My work as Southern Arizona's Congresswoman frequently put me in close contact with some of the world's most powerful and deadly weapons - supporting police departments, advocating for the Border Patrol, standing up for our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and supporting my constituents' and my own Second Amendment rights."
Giffords' posting continues, saying she grew up with guns, and she and her husband like owning them. Another photo on the page even shows her buying a holster for her personal Glock 9mm. That picture was taken two months prior to the shooting in Tucson - which ended six lives and wounded 19 people, including Giffords. The new Facebook posting says she hasn't been able to fire a weapon since. Her right arm is paralyzed and she is less mobile than she was before that day in 2011.
Giffords' Facebook page then pleads for consensus from all perspectives in the gun control arena.
"Both sides of the gun violence debate usually miss the point. We don't have to choose between owning, using, and enjoying guns, on one hand, and preventing gun violence, on the other. Both sides need to come together to support commonsense solutions to gun violence, like keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people like the young man who shot me. That's why I'm fighting this fight. That's why I'm working to bring people together to support gun rights and reduce gun violence. I hope you join me."