The Last Word
updated 6/25/2013 6:45:18 PM ET 2013-06-25T22:45:18

Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly announced their "Rights and Responsibilities" tour, citing a poll that shows support for new gun laws even among states with many gun owners.

Washington hasn’t come through yet, but that’s not stopping former Rep. Gabby Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly. They are taking their case for expanded background checks on the road in a new multi-state tour aimed at swaying hold-out senators and their constituents.

On Tuesday, the couple announced  their “Rights and Responsibilities” week-long tour starting on July 1. As part of their Americans for Responsible Solutions super PAC, they will travel to Nevada, Alaska, Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota and Ohio–many states where senators voted “no” on the background checks bill in April.

Their goal is to give these  senators “a way out of bad vote, according to their website. Looking to build momentum for another gun control vote and quell any fears over measures that would infringe on civil liberties, ARS commissioned a series of polls showing that background checks are still very popular with the majority of people–including those in states that have large populations of gun owners. The study addressed concerns over protecting Second Amendment rights, which has historically been a major factor cited by pro-gun groups like the National Rifle Association as an argument against new gun legislation.

“I’ve been around guns my whole life, and I know that as an American, my right to own a firearm goes hand in hand with my obligation to be a responsible gun owner and to do my part to make sure guns don’t fall into the hands of criminals or dangerously mentally ill people,” said Kelly in a written statement. “Gabby and I are excited to hit the road this summer and meet so many of the great Americans who are standing with us to fight for common-sense solutions to prevent gun violence and protect our rights.”

The poll found, for instance, 84% of New Hampshire voters are in favor of increased background checks. And 75% believe it’s possible to both protect the constitutional right to bear arms and improve gun laws at the same time. It noted the majority wants Sen. Kelly Ayotte to switch up her vote; she’s been dealing with a PR nightmare trying to explain her decision.

Vice President Biden warned last week that lawmakers who don’t get on board with gun new safety measures “will pay a political price.”

In the wake of the Newtown school shooting, Giffords, herself a survivor of gun violence after being shot in the head in Tucson parking lot in 2011, has made it her mission to promote improved gun control measures.


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