7 years later, Ariz. con­tin­ues dis­re­spect of Gabby Gif­fords

The Arizona Republic - - Valley & State -

In his State of the State ad­dress Mon­day, Gov. Doug Ducey spoke about how, in Ari­zona, “we are blessed to stand on the shoul­ders of giants.” He men­tioned names like Barry Gold­wa­ter, Mo Udall, John McCain and San­dra Day O’Con­nor.

And — on what was the sev­enth an­niver­sary of the as­sas­si­na­tion at­tempt that nearly killed her – “Gabby Gif­fords’ re­silience against all odds.” That last part is true. Gif­fords and her hus­band, Mark Kelly, have proved to be re­silient against all odds.

They have to be, given the fact that law­mak­ers from the state that she has called home, that sent her to Congress, and where she nearly died, have done noth­ing but ig­nore and dis­re­spect her from the mo­ment she re­gained con­scious­ness af­ter the near-fa­tal shoot­ing.

Oh, there are al­ways the nice words. Like Ducey’s “re­silience against all odds.”

But when it comes to tak­ing ac­tion to pre­vent gun vi­o­lence or in­sti­tute com­mon­sense firearms reg­u­la­tions … noth­ing.

If any­thing, law­mak­ers in Ari­zona have done just the op­po­site.

It be­gan shortly af­ter gun­man north of Tuc­son used a weapon with a high­ca­pac­ity mag­a­zine to fire 31 shots in 15 sec­onds, killing six peo­ple and wound­ing 13, in­clud­ing Gif­fords.

A bill was filed in the Leg­is­la­ture to limit gun clips to 10 rounds.

Kelly O’Brien, the fi­ancee of mur­dered Gif­fords staffer Gabe Zim­mer­man, said at the time, “Ex­tended mag­a­zine clips are cur­rently an eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble weapon for trou­bled in­di­vid­u­als to use in mass mur­der. That is what hap­pened on Jan. 8 . ... This must not be al­lowed to hap­pen again.”

Dal­las Green, for­mer Philadelphia Phillies man­ager and grand­fa­ther of mur­dered 9-year-old Christina-Tay­lor Green, added, “I don’t have a Glock or what­ever it is, and I don’t have a mag­a­zine with 33 bul­lets in it. That doesn’t make sense, for me, to be able to sell those kinds of things. I guess I never thought about it un­til this hap­pened. What rea­son is there to have those kinds of guns, other than to kill peo­ple?”

That bill did not pass. How­ever, a month or so af­ter the mass shoot­ing, 40 Ari­zona leg­is­la­tors signed on as spon­sors for a bill to des­ig­nate the Colt Sin­gle Ac­tion Army re­volver as the state’s firearm. It passed, and Gov. Jan Brewer signed it.

It’s been like that ever since. Noth­ing has been done to close the gun-show loop­hole or to make it more dif­fi­cult for those who shouldn’t pos­sess weapons to get them. If any­thing, law­mak­ers have done just the op­po­site, mak­ing it eas­ier.

It’s an in­sult to Gif­fords.

An in­sult to the dead and the other wounded.

An in­sult to their fam­i­lies, and the fam­i­lies of all the vic­tims of gun vi­o­lence since them.

Gif­fords was in Tuc­son on Mon­day for the sev­enth an­niver­sary of the at­tack. Ef­forts are on­go­ing there to cre­ate a memo­rial to those lost. The hope is to have some­thing fin­ished by 2020.

At the event, Gif­fords said, “Jan­uary 8, 2011, changed my life for­ever. And the lives of so many oth­ers,” Gif­fords said. “We honor those who lost, those who lost their lives and those who were hurt. And the lives of so many oth­ers.

“Tuc­son is strong. Tuc­son is my place. I love it a lot.” Re­silience.

Ab­so­lutely.

Reach Mon­tini at 602-444-8978 or ed.mon­tini@ari­zonare­pub­lic.com.

EJ Mon­tini Colum­nist Ari­zona Repub­lic USA TO­DAY NET­WORK

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