LANSING, Mich. – Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was in Lansing with Michigan lawmakers for a gun safety rally Wednesday.
The visit comes a month after the deadly mass shooting at Michigan State University that killed three students and injured five others.
Giffords was part of the Arizona legislature from 2000 to 2005 and was a member of congress from 2006 to 2012. On Jan. 8, 2011, a gunman shot Giffords in the head during an event in Tucson, Arizona.
Six people were killed, and 12 others were injured. She created a national gun safety organization that travels nationwide to support the movement.
Wednesday’s (March 15) rally supported the history of gun safety legislation going through the Michigan legislature.
“Change doesn’t happen overnight,” said Giffords. “I can’t do it alone. Join me. Let’s move ahead together.”
Other mass shooting survivors from Oxford High School and MSU also spoke.
In the crowd, there were teachers like James Eren. He is also an MSU parent, and like many, he is fed up.
“Forget about the normal business, forget about state testing, forget about all that stuff if you can’t keep the kids and their teachers safe, nothing else matters,” said Eren. “Oxford Strong doesn’t mean anything, Spartan Strong doesn’t mean anything, Columbine Strong doesn’t mean anything. We got to do something, and I’m so glad that there are people here who want to do something.”
Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer also spoke during the rally.
“The good news is we do not have to live like this, and we will not live like this anymore,” said Whitmer.
Whitmer listed what Michigan lawmakers are working on.
“Now there are three immediate priorities we are working on: Universal background checks, safe shortage, and extreme risk protection orders,” Whitmer said.
Some protesters at the rally believed those laws were not the answer to safer schools.
Katie Jehl said allowing legal gun owners to carry at a school to defend against a shooter instead of schools being gun-free zones is a better solution.
“We need to harden schools,” said Jehl. “We need to do things that will actually protect them. The laws that they’re trying to pass will do nothing to protect them. We already have background checks. We already register guns.”