Giffords, Kelly Say 'Enough' to Gun Violence on 2nd Anniversary of Tucson Shooting


PHOTOS: Giffords' Remarkable Journey

The first change the couple hopes to enact is to require a comprehensive background check for the private sale of firearms.

"I bought a gun at Walmart recently and I went through a background check. It's not a difficult thing to do," Kelly said. "Why can't we just do that and make it more difficult for criminals and the mentally ill to get guns?"

The debate over high-capacity magazines and assault weapons has been renewed after the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.

Kelly, a veteran of Desert Storm and a gun owner, said he doesn't believe an extended magazine is necessary for the sport.

"An extended magazine is used to kill people," he said, "lots of people."

Loughner used a magazine that had 33 rounds in Tucson, while accused Aurora shooter James Holmes had a 100-round magazine. Adam Lanza, the Newtown shooter, used numerous 30-round magazines to load his Bushmaster AR-15.

Finally, Kelly hopes to address the issue of how the mentally ill are treated in the United States. Loughner, who was deemed incompetent to stand trial, pleaded guilty to 19 counts in August.

"Jared Loughner was clearly mentally ill," Kelly said.

"Sad," Giffords added.

Kelly said, "We have to learn how to identify these people and get them treatment. And we don't do a very good job at that."

At Loughner's sentencing in November, Giffords, unwavering, looked him straight in the eyes. It was the first time she and Kelly had seen Loughner in person.

"Daggers," Giffords said.

"Yeah, Gabby was staring daggers into his eyes," Kelly said.

Loughner stared back.

"He's highly medicated and the medication apparently makes him a little bit more rational, where he can understand things, but he's clearly mentally ill," Kelly said. "We wanted to make sure that he heard directly from us about the effect that what he did had on Gabby and the community."

Kelly delivered a statement, speaking to Loughner directly about the day that forever changed their lives: Jan. 8, 2011.

"Mr. Loughner, you may have put a bullet through her head, but you haven't put a dent in her spirit and her commitment to make the world a better place," Kelly said at the Nov. 8 sentencing.

"You have decades upon decades to contemplate what you did. But after today, after this moment, here and now, Gabby and I are done thinking about you."

Loughner was sentenced to seven consecutive life terms plus 140 years in prison without parole.

Giffords Recovery a 'Struggle'

Two years ago, doctors were unsure if Giffords would survive a gunshot wound to her head or what her prognosis would be.

She's made a remarkable recovery since then, but still has a long way to go.

"Physical therapy, yoga, speech therapy," she said.

Recovery is frustrating at times for the outgoing Giffords.

"She complains that her improvement is slow," Kelly said.

"But you're working hard," he said to his wife.

Giffords has a new companion, a service-dog named Nelson.

The former congresswoman, who loved being active outdoors before the shootings, has been able to slowly ease back into some of her favorite activities.

She's been able to ride a horse and hopes to take a bike ride soon with Kelly on a tandem bike he is getting modified.

This is not the life Giffords imagined, but her fighting spirit has been an inspiration for many. She plans to apply that same resolve in her mission to end gun violence, Kelly said.

"Gabby works very hard in her rehab," Kelly said. "Now we intend to work very hard on this new project."

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