PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The former Arizona congresswoman is campaigning for expanded background checks.
She survived a gunshot to the head in 2011, and has since been pushing for stronger gun laws. She was joined by her husband, Captain Mark Kelly, as well as two parents who lost children in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings at Portland City Hall Saturday.
Portland is the sixth city Giffords has visited as part of the Rights and Responsibilities tour. She and Kelly are campaigning for another vote on the bill for expanded background checks that failed by just six votes in the Senate. Senators Collins and King both voted in favor of the bill, and those who spoke at Saturday's event thanked the Maine senators for their support.
Though she struggles to speak, Congresswoman Giffords addressed the crowd.
"Now is the time to come together," Giffords said. "Be responsible. Democrats, Republicans, everyone."
"I'm a gun owner, I own five or six guns, Gabby is a gun owner, I've owned guns all my adult life," Mark Kelly said. "I've served in the military, Gabby's from Arizona, we get that. This isn't about the 2nd Amendment. I don't buy the slippery slope argument. I don't understand how doing something that most people agree on, ninety percent of the american public agree that we should expand background checks to the internet, to private sales, to gun shows."
Jeff Weinstein, President of the Maine Gun Owner's Association, responded to the event in a statement. He says while he substantively agrees with the intent of the campaign,
"If a proposed background check process can possibly morph into a de facto permanent gun registration program, then any effort to expand the background check process is doomed to failure, both politically and constitutionally."
Giffords and Kelly move on to the last stop in their tour, North Carolina, on Sunday.