Giffords Brings Her Gun Control Campaign to Rye

0:00 In halting words, former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords told a packed gathering of local residents that despite being a victim of gun violence she was […]

Published December 14, 2023 5:33 PM
2 min read


In halting words, former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords told a packed gathering of local residents that despite being a victim of gun violence she was not going to succumb to it. 

“Our lives can change so quickly. Mine did when I was shot. But I never gave up hope. I chose to make a new start. To move ahead, to not look back,” said Giffords at the Rye home of Caroline and Scott Wallach the evening of Nov. 30.

“I’m relearning so many things: how to walk, how to talk. And I’m fighting to make the country safer,” said Giffords, whose earnest words brought tears to many eyes. 

“We are living in challenging times, but we are up for the challenge,” Giffords said. “My own recovery has taken years. Many, many people have helped me along the way, and I’ve learned so much. I’ve learned when people care for each other and work together, progress is possible.”

Giffords, who was shot in 2011 at a constituent event in Arizona, has devoted herself to ending gun violence through her eponymous nonprofit, Giffords. She struggles with aphasia, a condition that affects her speech, and it took an entire year of preparation for her to be able to recite those words.

The Wallachs met Giffords at a friend’s home seven years earlier and were profoundly affected.

“I was raised in Newtown, Connecticut and southern Maine, so the mass shootings in those ‘safe’ communities really devastated us, and we knew we needed to do more to make change happen,” said Caroline Wallach. “My husband, Scott, and I have been proud to align ourselves with Giffords to work toward a safer future in our country.”

Giffords was joined at the event by Peter Ambler, Executive Director, who steered a discussion on gun reform. Gun violence, now the number one killer of children in America, is something that none of us can ignore, he said. Ambler noted the strides the Giffords organization has made in confronting gun lobbyists, who, he said, have a stranglehold on our political system. 

Through the organization’s multi-pronged approach, which focuses on building social momentum, changing policies, and challenging injustice, they hope not only to shift the conversation about guns in America, but also to implement life-saving legislation such as universal background checks and red flag laws. Ambler said many gun-control organizations have similar aims, but Giffords strives to bring together people of diverse backgrounds. In a short 10 years, he said, the organization has been able to out-lobby gun advocates.  

“Giffords was founded in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting because Gabby said, ‘Enough,’” Ambler explained. “Since then, we’ve worked every day to stop gun violence and save lives. We know that united we can defeat the gun lobby and pass gun safety legislation.”

The discussion concluded with a call to action to end gun violence. Ambler urged the audience to take three steps on gun control: First, do not lose hope. Second, engage in the politics, which means calling your representatives regularly to let them know where you stand on guns. Third, donate to Giffords. 

True political power, Ambler said, lies within our communities, and although change will be incremental, it is the slow and steady who win the race.

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