Giffords, Kelly Launch Fourth of July Gun Tour

Former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.) and her husband Mark Kelly have launched a "Rights and Responsibilities Tour" over the July Fourth weekend to "celebrate responsible gun ownership and promote common-sense gun safety laws that protect our communities from gun violence."

Their tour began yesterday in Las Vegas and heads to Anchorage today. On Wednesday they'll be in Bismarck and Fargo, N.D., heading to Cincinnati for the Fourth. On Friday they'll be in Manchester, N.H., on Saturday they head to Portland, Maine, and on Sunday they appear in Raleigh, N.C.

"Until now, the gun lobby’s political contributions, advertising and lobbying have dwarfed the influence of average, law abiding citizens. No longer. Americans for Responsible Solutions is engaging millions of people who are committed to finding sensible ways to reduce gun violence and supporting lawmakers who are willing to take a stand for responsible policies," said Giffords' PAC, Americans for Responsible Solutions.

The states on the tour were picked "to thank senators who voted in favor of the Manchin-Toomey bill – and to show those who voted against it that there is broad public support in their states for them to change their votes."

Sens. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) are among the Dem targets who voted against Manchin-Toomey.

Independence Day was picked for the timing as the tour "is a celebration of America’s heritage and the values that make our nation great."

"I'm a patriot, and I believe the right to bear arms is a definitive part of our American heritage," Giffords wrote in a USA Today op-ed. "For centuries, that right has come with the responsibility to use our guns safely and ensure that our families, our communities and our children are protected. Generations of gun owners have taught their sons and daughters that it takes as much patience and skill to be a good shot as it does to be a good steward of a powerful weapon."

"...As gun owners, my husband and I understand that the Second Amendment is most at risk when a criminal or deranged person commits a gun crime. These acts only embolden those who oppose gun ownership. Promoting responsible gun laws protects the Second Amendment and reduces lives lost from guns."

Following this week's tour, her PAC said, "Americans for Responsible Solutions plans to continue building grassroots momentum by sustaining activity and driving action to make sure the diverse collection of advocates that support common-sense gun safety legislation are heard here in tour states, in Washington and throughout the country."

"Organizing bodies will be coming together in the weeks and months following the tour so that Americans for Responsible Solutions will have a sustainable presence at the local level in order to push for the eventual passage of laws that protect responsible gun ownership and reduce gun violence. Our goal is to formalize these organizing forces so that conversation and momentum will continue long after the tour has passed through town."