Giffords applauds bipartisan deal on background checks - Tucson News Now

Giffords applauds bipartisan deal on background checks

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Former Congresswoman and Jan. 8 shooting victim, Gabrielle Giffords, wrote on Twitter today "Glad @SenToomey and @Sen_JoeManchin are moving forward on background checks.  Americans don't want political games, they want progress."

The tweet came moments after Senators Pat Toomey and Joe Manchin wrapped up a press conference announcing a bipartisan deal on background checks for gun sales. 

The deal will require checks at gun shows and for internet sales, but will not require checks for transactions among friends, family members, and neighbors.

Sen. Toomey called the checks "common sense" while Manchin said lawmakers must prevent another massacre like the one at Newtown, CT.

"Basically what the federeal government is doing is affirming what we've already done," says Ward VI Tucson city council member Steve Kozachik. "It makes sense, it's jsut common sense."

Kozachik, along with Ward III council member Karin Uhlich, championed a Tucson resolution calling for background checks on all gun sales on city property, even person to person sales.

That includes gun shows at the TCC.

"If you go up to somebody on city property and make a transaction on a firearm, we have an obligation to the public," says Kozachik.

That obligation is to make sure people have a legal right to own a firearm, doesn't have felonies in their background and psychological issues.

But opponents say the requirement would not have prevented any of the recent tragedies.

"If you take the recent tragedies that have happened, none of those firearms was aquired at a gun show," says Tommy Rompel, owner of the Black Weapons Armory, a local gun shop. "So why are we targeting gun show and law abiding citizens. It does nothing to actually fix the problem."

The NRA also issued a statement following announcement. 

It reads:

"Expanding background checks at gun shows will not prevent the next shooting, will not solve violent crime and will not keep our kids safe in schools.

"The sad truth is that no background check would have prevented the tragedies in Newtown, Aurora or Tucson.

That is an argument repeated in Tucson by several gun advocates.

"Background checks are feckless," says Charles Heller, head of Arizona Citizens Defense League. "They rarely prevent anybody from doing anything."

Rompel believes there are other forces at work.

"I think there are people who want to abolish the right to keep and bear arms," he says. "There is a knee jerk reaction to fix the problem."

Kozachik says the new laws, including reporting a missing or stolen handgun to the police, are not designed to take away rights.

"If you're going to operate a firearm, and you have that right, there are certain responsibilities," he says. "The gun guys get all fixated on the rights element of the thing but some of us also are recognizing there are responsibilites that to along with them too."


"While the overwhelming rejection of President Obama and Mayor Bloomberg's "universal" background check agenda is a positive development, we have a broken mental health system that is not going to be fixed with more background checks at gun shows.

"We need a serious and meaningful solution that addresses crime in cities like Chicago, addresses mental health deficiencies, while at the same time protecting the rights of those of us who are not a danger to anyone.

"President Obama should be as committed to dealing with the gang problem that is tormenting honest people in his hometown as he is to blaming law-abiding gun owners for the acts of psychopathic murderers."

Democrats believe they can get as many as a dozen Republicans to vote in favor of the background check compromise.

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