There's something grotesque about American politics when a woman who was shot in the head has to prove she still likes guns anyway in order to comment on them. But so it goes. Yesterday, Gabby Giffords went to the gun range, as she and husband Mark Kelly kick off a national tour once again centered on bolstering a renewed push on federal gun legislation. July and August will be like March and April all over again.
Giffords takes aim down the range, squeezes the trigger. The weapon fires, startling her. She pulls the weapon up, prompting Kelly to step in and take it from her hand. Her left hand, of course — she can't use her right hand because she got shot in the head. There's some small applause. Giffords smiles gamely and waves to the press and observers.
See? She likes guns! So it's OK for her to tour the country asking for reforms to our nation's gun laws that aren't strong enough to have prevented Newtown or her having been shot. The whole thing is like making a person severely injured by a drunk driver extol the virtues of the new 2014 SUVs before she can ask for improved brake systems.
Kelly and Giffords' Rights and Responsibilities Tour is hitting all the same venues you might expect of a mid-level country act: Alaska, Maine, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, and Ohio. You may notice some overlap there with states that are home to moderate Republicans, or Democrats who voted against the background check compromise in April, or are blue states with Republican senators. Presumably whoever drafted the itinerary made a similar observation. (Last month, Mayor Michael Bloomberg's gun reform group Mayors Against Illegal Guns launched its own tour to draw attention to expanded gun measures. It got off to a poor start.)