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Giffords takes heat for forgiving gunman, while 'punishing' honest gun owners

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Former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was “way off target” Wednesday when she told an audience in Oakland, Calif., that she forgives the gunman who shot her and killed six others, the head of a Bellevue-based gun rights group said today, because she has been campaigning to erode the rights of gun owners who have harmed nobody.

Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, said in a press release that his group has “great empathy” for the former Congresswoman, “and we continue to pray for her full recovery.”

“But that doesn’t mean,” Gottlieb said, “we will stand silent while she and Kelly continue to exhibit misplaced values by treating responsible firearms owners like criminals while the criminal who tried to kill her basks in the blessing of her forgiveness.”

Giffords and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, came to Washington and Kelly on his own to Oregon earlier this year to campaign for so-called “universal background check” legislation. In Oregon, that provision was in a piece of legislation, while in Washington, it is being pushed as an 18-page gun control initiative.

It was with no small irony that Gottlieb zeroed in on something Kelly asked of his California audience. “How do we stop gun trafficking,” he wondered.

This was barely a week after California State Sen. Leland Yee and several others were arrested for alleged gun trafficking. Today’s Sacramento Bee and San Francisco Chronicle both announced that Yee was indicted this morning on charges of wire fraud, honest services conspiracy and conspiracy to deal in firearms. This column covered the Yee arrest here, here and here.

“I would suggest to Kelly that, for starters, his new gun control group, Americans for Responsible Solutions, demand a house-cleaning in Sacramento,” Gottlieb said.

He also suggested that Kelly and Giffords could likewise “demand accountability for those who monstrously mishandled Operation Fast and Furious.”

Earlier this week, B. Todd Jones, director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, acknowledged to California Rep. Darrell Issa’s House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that none of those directly responsible for that scandal had been fired. Some individuals have retired or resigned at ATF or from the Justice Department, including former U.S. Attorney for Arizona Dennis Burke.

Gottlieb said he was “personally appalled” that Giffords has forgiven the man who shot her “while at the same time she’s been traveling around the country, campaigning for more gun control laws that erode the rights and freedoms of millions of people who have not harmed her or anyone else.”

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