Giffords to bring gun-control campaign to Portland

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PORTLAND — Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., and her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, will visit the city Saturday as part of a cross-country tour promoting anti-gun violence legislation.

Giffords and Kelly lead Americans for Responsible Solutions, a political action committee. The Portland stop is one of seven in their “Rights and Responsibilities” tour, which is intended to demonstrate support for expanded background checks of gun buyers.

The tour will “remind elected officials that our cherished Second Amendment rights demand great responsibility,” according to the group’s website.

Then-Congresswoman Giffords was critically wounded in 2011 after Jared Loughner opened fire at an event Giffords was hosting in Tucson, Ariz. A dozen other people were injured in the mass shooting, and an additional six were killed. Since then, Giffords and Kelly have become vocal advocates against gun violence.

In April, both of Maine’s U.S. senators, Republican Susan Collins and Independent Angus King, voted in favor of a bill that would have required background checks in all gun sales at shows and online. The legislation failed.

In Portland, Mayor Michael Brennan and Police Chief Michael Sauschuck have been outspoken proponents of “common-sense” gun control measures.

The Rights and Responsibilities tour began in Nevada Monday and runs through Sunday. Besides Portland, it includes stops in Alaska, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota and Ohio.

The Portland stop will include a lobster dinner with Giffords, Kelly and two winners of a random drawing, according to the website. Further detail was not provided, and repeated attempts to contact Americans for Responsible Solutions were not successful.

“Gabby and I are excited to hit the road this summer and meet so many of the great Americans who are standing with us to fight for common-sense solutions to prevent gun violence and protect our rights,” Kelly said in a statement.

William Hall can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or Follow him on Twitter: @hallwilliam4.