by Karen Stokes
Marquette University Gabby Giffords, a former U.S. Representative visited Milwaukee last week to campaign for common sense gun laws and Hillary Clinton.
Milwaukee was the 11th stop for the six-week tour for the Vocal Majority national bus tour. Giffords along with Mayor Tom Barrett and local political leaders united to inform the crowd about responsible gun laws and early voting.
A spirited, fired up crowd were anxious to meet Giffords to show support for gun control legislation.
“I’m for common sense gun reform,” said Jill Huennekens, a Milwaukee resident and mother of four. “I’m not for abolishing the 2nd Amendment, but for background checks and safety for guns.”
State Representative Mandela Barnes told of his experiences of gun violence and how it affected his life personally when two of his high school friends were killed.
“This issue of gun violence is concentrated here in the city of Milwaukee but affects the entire state,” Barnes said. “Unfortunately this is the new normal about having cities torn through shreds by gun violence.”
A staggering statistic from State Senator Chris Larson showed that between the years of 1999 and 2014, 408 children were killed by guns in Wisconsin. That is an average of a child dying every two weeks during those years.
“It seems like you’re hearing about these stories all the time because it’s happening all the time,” said Larson.
Mayor Barrett said that the most difficult part of his job is the violence he sees in the city.
“Most people associate gun violence with urban life. It’s those people,” Barrett said. “People are people. As humans we have the obligation wherever the people are to do what we can to reduce the violence.”
All the leaders believe that it’s time to vote for the candidates whose agenda is to reduce gun violence.
In 2011, Giffords was speaking at a meeting in her home state of Arizona and was shot in the head at point blank range in an assassination attempt at a supermarket near Tucson. Thirteen people were injured and six were killed.
In 2013, Giffords and her husband astronaut Mark Kelly started the political action group, Americans for Responsible Solutions. The group stresses the need to limit sales of assault weapons, high capacity magazines and stopping gun trafficking. The group also wants to keeps guns out of Continued on page 7 the hands of criminals, terrorists and the mentally ill.
Giffords assailant Jared Lee Loughner was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Giffords has come a long way but still has difficulty with talking.
Giffords has the language disorder aphasia. Aphasia is a brain disorder that limits language to be able to say only a couple of words at a time.
“I’m here to talk to you about Hillary,” Giffords said. “Hillary is tough, Hillary is courageous and she will stand up to the gun lobby that’s why I’m voting for Hillary.
Giffords concluded the rally by saying, “Come January, I want to say these two words, ‘Madam President.’”
“On November 8, make sure your voice is heard,” Larson said.