She was shot in the head during a mass shooting in Tucson, Arizona in 2011. Tuesday former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords testified in Olympia in support of Initiative 594.
The measure would require background checks for most gun sales and transfers – even those between individuals.
“Now is the time to come together, be responsible: Democrats, Republicans, everyone," said Giffords. "We must never stop fighting: fight, fight, fight.”
Giffords was joined by her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, and Cheryl Stumbo who survived Seattle’s 2006 Jewish Federation shooting.
Brian Judy of the National Rifle Association also testified at the packed hearing. He called what happened to Giffords and Stumbo “unspeakable evil.”
“But along with the empathy I feel for these victims, I feel disappointment that these tragedies would be exploited to push such a far reaching anti-gun agenda, especially an agenda with no relation to either of these incidents,” said Judy.
He noted that both the Tucson and Jewish Federation shooters passed background checks to legally purchase their guns.
Initiative 594 and a competing pro-gun rights measure – 591 – are before the legislature. If lawmakers don’t act on them, they would appear on Washington’s November ballot.