Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and her husband Mark Kelly attended a Saratoga Springs gun show in upstate New York on Sunday — her first gun show visit since surviving a 2011 shooting. Thanks to a voluntary agreement between the New York Attorney General and the operators of every gun show in the state, every vendor is required to perform a background check prior before selling a gun.
Giffords and Kelly were escorted by state attorney general Eric Schneiderman (D) and Saratoga Springs Arms Fair operator David Petronis. Petronis and the Empire State’s 34 other gun show operators all signed onto New York’s Model Gun Show Procedures earlier this year, voluntarily closing the “gun-show loophole.”
While a smattering of protesters reportedly showed up to protest the state’s recent bipartisan gun law, which banned some semiautomatic weapons and large magazine clips, the background checks were generally welcomed. A local paper noted that “most vendors said they had no problem with background checks,” and many had been doing them for years.
Giffords told attendees that stopping gun violence requires “the courage of new ideas.” Kelly praised the voluntary system as “an example where government can work together with gun owners and federally licensed firearms dealers to have a solution that’s common sense that most people agree on.”