Regional Public Journalism
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Washington Legislature. Austin Jenkins is the Olympia correspondent for the Northwest News Network. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) weekly public affairs program "Inside Olympia."

Giffords Urges Lawmakers To 'Fight, Fight, Fight' For Background Checks

Colin Fogarty
Northwest News Network files
File photo of the Washington State Capitol Building

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.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."