As former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords announced her efforts to prevent gun violence on Tuesday — exactly two years after she was shot in the head while meeting with constituents — some gun-control advocates say they see a powerful new symbol for their cause.
"Who could express more than she can what it is like to be a victim?" said Sarah Brady, chairwoman of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
Brady would know. After her husband, James Brady, was shot and partially paralyzed during an assassination attempt on President Reagan, the couple became leading advocates in the push for gun control. Their lobbying efforts helped pass the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, which ushered in background checks for firearms in 1993.
Now, as the Obama administration readies its own gun-control plan in the wake of a school shooting in Connecticut and is joined by advocates such as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Brady says that Giffords could be a powerful messenger, despite the limitations wrought by her injury.
"I think there's a lot of momentum," Brady said. "The only problem is that, having worked in the House and Senate for years, it's not an easy place to go up against."
On Tuesday, Giffords and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, launched their new gun-control campaign, Americans for Responsible Solutions, which will raise money and lobby on behalf of controlling gun violence. In announcing the group, and in the aftermath of the Connecticut shooting that left 20 children and six adults dead, Giffords simply told ABC News's Diane Sawyer, "Enough."