Kelly O'Brien, the fiancee of slain Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' congressional aide Gabe Zimmerman, is teaming up with the Brady Campaign to announce a new TV ad urging President Obama to ban high-capacity ammunition magazines like the one Jared Loughner used to kill six people and injure 13 in Tucson last January.
O'Brien was on Capitol Hill Tuesday to support the advocacy group's new campaign for stricter gun laws, and also support a bill that would ban high-ammunition magazine clips.
"Gabe was a great man. There are many reasons I loved Gabe. He was smart, funny and outgoing, but what really drew me to him was that he knew what was important in life," O'Brien began. "He spoke with his parents Emily and Ross daily. He had a little brother that he adored. He made sure to tell me every day that he loved me. He made time in life for board games, learning, volunteering and running."
Zimmerman, 30, was shot and killed by one of 31 bullets fired from the extended capacity clip of Loughner in a Tucson Safeway grocery store parking lot Jan. 8.
O'Brien described Zimmerman as "fiercely protective of his friends and colleagues, stepping in without hesitation or thoughts to bear the brunt of inappropriate words or actions" and said her fiancee "died this way also, trying to protect his colleagues and others from a troubled individual who effortlessly and legally purchased magazines that allowed him to gun down so many people so quickly."
O'Brien has been an advocate for a ban on assault clips since her fiancee was killed at Giffords Congress On Your Corner event last January.
A new 30-second ad shows a man at a shooting range firing a handgun with an extended clip.
"A magazine that allows a gun to fire 32 shots in 16 seconds is only good for one thing: killing a lot of people, fast," a deep voice narrates. "And that's something we can live without."
Two Shots Every Second"The man who killed Gabe and five others shot 31 bullets in 15 seconds -- roughly two shots every second," O'Brien said. "He stopped only when his high-capacity magazine was empty. He had two other high-capacity magazines with him that day. He was clearly planning to kill many more people, but thankfully, two brave people tackled the gunman, and a fearless woman wrestled away one of the high-capacity magazines he was trying to load into his gun. Those people saved a lot of lives."
Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., whose husband was murdered with a gun equipped with a high-capacity magazine on the New York commuter rail Dec. 7, 1993, have introduced legislation to ban extended clips on assault weapons and limit magazines to 10 bullets.
"Ten bullets are more than enough for self-defense, which is why many people own a handgun. Extended magazines currently are easily accessible for troubled individuals who want to commit mass murder, and that is what happened on Jan. 8, and that is how Gabe was killed," O'Brien said. "This type of tragedy cannot be allowed to happen again. Please support Congresswoman McCarthy and Sen. Lautenberg on banning these extended magazines so that another community doesn't have to go through what Tucson went through."
Gabe's father, Ross Zimmerman, was also on hand to support the ban.
"One of the things I hear most commonly from people who try to comfort me and express their feelings after this event is that they couldn't imagine. Well, I certainly couldn't imagine it," Ross Zimmerman said. "My son and I talked about the idea of a parent losing a child. It never occurred to us it would happen to us. It never occurred to us that Gabe was in any danger. It never occurred to us that he would be the first congressional staff member in U.S. history to die in the line of duty in front of a Safeway.
"What is so hard about the idea of commonsense, responsible behavior? What is so hard about adding something like this?" Zimmerman asked. "This is a little piece of a much larger picture. I have plenty of friends who own guns. None of them think that these things are reasonable. There is no rationality to this. This is something that must change."
As she described her personal connection to O'Brien and Gabe's father Ross, McCarthy said O'Brien's activism on the gun issue took a lot of courage.
Gun Violence Affects Everyone"I know how difficult this is for them," McCarthy said. "It takes a lot of courage for her to come here and to talk about why she is supporting Sen. Lautenberg's legislation, and my legislation, to ban the large capacity magazines."
McCarthy shot back at critics who contend she is introducing her ban to capitalize on emotional feelings still raw from the shooting in Tucson.
"You're damn right we are. We are because the pain doesn't go away," McCarthy said. "As far as I'm concerned, Kelly is the living proof and Mr. Zimmerman is the living proof that gun violence just doesn't affect those that have been killed and those that have been wounded.
"Take a good look at Kelly and I. Really take a good look at the two of us. I'm certainly old enough to be her mom, but when you go home, really take a look at your family. Take a look at your children. Look at your friends and your neighbors," McCarthy continued. "At any one time, within a few seconds, life could change. Life could change forever. We are taking commonsense measures. We are trying to ban large magazines. We are trying to make sure everyone goes through background checks. I believe with all my heart and soul that we can save lives and prevent injuries without [infringing on] anyone's right to bear arms."