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Barbara Lombardo of Saratoga Springs, NY, is a journalism adjunct at University at Albany and retired executive editor of The Saratogian, The Record and the Community News. Follow her on Twitter @Barb_Lombardo.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Reduce gun violence: the goal of Gabby Giffords' PAC headed by Saratoga's Pia Carusone

The federal government should require background checks for gun purchases anywhere in the country. The concept is overwhelming supported by Americans. So simple. So sensible. So fair. Yet, so far, impossible to get through Congress.
But that doesn’t mean give up.
A fund-raiser letter arrived at home this week from Americans for Responsible Solutions, the political action c
Gabby Giffords and husband Mark Kelly, right,
 at October 2103 gun show in Saratoga Springs.
ommittee created by Gabby Giffords, whose impressive, blossoming career in Congress was cut short by a mentally ill man who shot six people to death and injured more than a dozen others, including Giffords, the target of his rampage.
“Many may look at me and see mostly what I have lost,” began a letter in the mailing signed by Giffords. “I struggle to speak. My eyesight’s not great. My right arm and leg are paralyzed. And I left a job I loved representing southern Arizona in Congress.”
She briefly described the daily, painful, frustrating rehab that she must do every day and asked, “if simply completing a normal day requires so much work, how would I ever be able to fulfill a larger purpose?”
The answer, she wrote, came with the shooting of the schoolchildren in Sandy Hook: “After that day, my husband, Mark, and I pledged to make it our mission to change laws and reduce gun violence.”
Thus was born the Americans for Responsible Solutions, whose goals they have been tirelessly promoting around the country. Last October, the cause brought themto Saratoga Springs, where she and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman held apress conference at a gun show to urge that New York’s laws pertaining to background checks serve as a model for federal legislation.
The U.S. Senate failed to pass a background checks bill, and now the Americans for Responsible Solutions is focusing on supporting the election of candidates who will. This PAC is a little guy compared to the gun lobby, but why that lobby is against making it harder for criminals and the mentally ill to get guns is beyond me.
Besides the Giffords letter, the mailing included a letter from the organization’s executive director, Saratoga Springs’ own Pia Carusone, who had been Giffords’ chief of staff and is as passionate as her boss about this cause. The letter notes that any contribution to Americans for Responsible Solutions by March 31 will be matched by a donor, up to $500,000. I know the matching donation pitch is a well-worn fund-raising strategy, but it works.
If it’s piqued your interest as it did mine, the mailing address is P.O. Box 92560, Washington, DC 20090. Learn more at


Anonymous Anonymous said...

*sigh* I support the need for common sense solutions regarding guns, but I think this PAC will be short lived. I genuinely don't think they will be able to count on the donations from their members for the long haul and for that I think they will start playing dirty to get people to give money.
Last week on their Facebook page, they posted a picture of one of the Sandy Hook victims and made some remarks about the child's birthday. To me that was manipulation. The Sandy Hook tragedy might have inspired Gabby and her husband to start the PAC but it hasn't been the only mass shooting. Not once have I seen any remarks made about victims of the Tucson tragedy, about Aurora, Virginia Tech, Columbine, Washington Navy Yard etc.
As for Saratoga's own Pia Carusone, I look forward to the book she will be ghost writing to be released under Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly's name later in the year.

March 20, 2014 at 9:03 PM 

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