Giffords brings gun control message to Iowa

Political group endorses Judge, Mowrer

Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, of Arizona, speaks to a well-wisher Monday at the Iowa Capitol. Giffords, a victim of a 2011 shooting, traveled to Iowa with her political action committee Americans for Responsible Solutions to advocate for stronger gun control laws. (Erin Murphy/Gazette-Lee Des Moines Bureau)
Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, of Arizona, speaks to a well-wisher Monday at the Iowa Capitol. Giffords, a victim of a 2011 shooting, traveled to Iowa with her political action committee Americans for Responsible Solutions to advocate for stronger gun control laws. (Erin Murphy/Gazette-Lee Des Moines Bureau)

DES MOINES — The half-dozen assembled Iowa Democrats called Gabby Giffords, the former House representative from Arizona and 2011 shooting victim, courageous for her advocacy for stronger gun control laws.

Giffords said it requires courage to take steps to stop gun violence.

Giffords spoke Monday on the Iowa Capitol grounds on behalf of her political action committee Americans for Responsible Solutions. The group endorsed a pair of Democratic candidates for federal office in Iowa, Patty Judge for U.S. Senate and Jim Mowrer for U.S. House in Iowa’s 3rd District.

Giffords, who has trouble speaking for great lengths, made brief remarks at the event, saying people who want stronger gun control laws to help reduce gun violence must show “great courage.”

“Now is the time to come together, be responsible. Democrats, Republicans, everyone — we must never stop fighting,” Giffords said. “Be bold, be courageous. The nation’s counting on you.”

Giffords was joined at the event by Judge, Mowrer, Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie and four Iowa Democratic state legislators.

The speakers advocated for various gun control measures such as mandatory and expanded background checks for gun purchases, and prohibiting gun purchases for individuals on terrorist watch lists, individuals convicted of violent crimes or individuals with mental health issues.

Judge called Giffords “a true American hero.”

“She is an inspiration to all of us,” Judge said of Giffords. “Her bravery and her tireless advocacy for common-sense solutions for gun violence in this country . It’s a testament to her strength and to her leadership.”

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At his weekly news conference earlier Monday at the Capitol, Gov. Terry Branstad, a Republican, said he does not believe more gun control laws are the answer to addressing gun violence.

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