Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords' new organization calling for sensible gun policies will have strong ties to Texas. Giffords and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, formed Americans for Responsible Solutions on the two-year anniversary of the shooting in Tucson that wounded her and killed six. Giffords named Texas attorney Steve Mostyn treasurer of the Super PAC, which has a goal of raising $20 million by the 2014 elections. Mostyn has already contributed $1 million towards the goal.
Mostyn told Politico that he met Kelly when the former astronaut was based in Houston, and that they reconnected after the horrible shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. Americans for Responsible Solutions is planning to go toe-to-toe with the NRA in campaign spending in the 2014 cycle. The group will also advocate for universal background checks and a close of the gun show loophole, as well as a pan on high-capacity magazines.
Giffords and Kelly announced the group in a pointed op-ed in USA Today that's worth a read. They write:
Special interests purporting to represent gun owners but really advancing the interests of an ideological fringe have used big money and influence to cow Congress into submission. Rather than working to find the balance between our rights and the regulation of a dangerous product, these groups have cast simple protections for our communities as existential threats to individual liberties. Rather than conducting a dialogue, they threaten those who divert from their orthodoxy with political extinction.
As a result, we are more vulnerable to gun violence. Weapons designed for the battlefield have a home in our streets. Criminals and the mentally ill can easily purchase guns by avoiding background checks. Firearm accessories designed for killing at a high rate are legal and widely available. And gun owners are less responsible for the misuse of their weapons than they are for their automobiles.
Mostyn's a great choice for treasurer, since he's not only a prominent donor, but also a gun owner who can speak credibly on the need for sensible reforms that won't impede hunting and rifle sports. As Mostyn told Politico, “I'm a gun-owner, but I'm also a father of a five-year-old who I take to school everyday. We aren't anti-gun, but we also aren't anti-common sense.”
There's definitely a need for a broad range of organizations calling for measures to prevent gun violence. It's great to see one of Texas's most prominent donors step up and lead the most significant of these efforts to emerge in the wake of the Newtown tragedy.