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Former Congresswoman Giffords' Tour Pushes For Stronger Background Checks

NHPR / Michael Brindley

Former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly were in New Hampshire Friday to push for stronger background checks for gun sales.

The stop was part of their seven-state Rights and Responsibilities tour.

At a Manchester press conference, Giffords spoke slowly but passionately, as she called on lawmakers to have the courage to pass stronger gun control laws.

“Now is the time to come together. Be responsible. Democrats. Republicans. Everyone.”

Giffords was shot in the head in Tucson in January of 2011, a shooting that left six people dead.

“Stopping gun violence takes courage. The courage to do right, the courage of new ideas. I’ve seen great courage when my life was on the line.”

Her husband Mark Kelly says while he and his wife are gun owners, they also believe background checks should be expanded to gun shows and Internet sales.

“Our 2nd Amendment rights can be full in force and can be respected, and at the same time, we can make it more difficult for criminals to get guns.”

New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte voted against a bill to expand background checks.

Manchester Police Officer Dan Doherty was among several law enforcement officials at the Manchester press conference to support Giffords and Kelly.

Doherty was shot multiple times while pursuing a suspect, but was able to return to the force a year later.

Several protesters were gathered outside the event, one reportedly armed with an AR-15.

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