Seeking to counter the influence of the pro-gun lobby, former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, are launching a campaign to change the nation's gun policies.
The initiative, called Americans for Responsible Solutions, was announced Tuesday on the two-year anniversary of the Tucson mass shooting that killed six people and severely wounded Giffords.
"Forget the boogeyman of big, bad government coming to dispossess you of your firearms. As a Western woman and a Persian Gulf War combat veteran who have exercised our 2nd Amendment rights, we don't want to take away your guns any more than we want to give up the two guns we have locked in a safe at home," Giffords and Kelly wrote in an op-ed in USA Today.
"What we do want is what the majority of NRA members and other Americans want: responsible changes in our laws to require responsible gun ownership and reduce gun violence," they explained.
The campaign will aim to neutralize the National Rifle Association's cash advantage in promoting gun rights. The NRA, with more than 4 million members and an annual budget of more than $200 million, spent more than $2.2 million on federal lobbying and another $1 million in contributions to candidates in 2012. It also poured in nearly $19 million in outside spending, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.