By Bill Hudson

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Gunned down in a mass shooting, she became a leading advocate for what supporters call “common sense gun control.”

On Thursday, former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords made the pitch in Minnesota.

Together with her astronaut husband Mark Kelly, Giffords launched a bipartisan coalition. The group’s job is to find ways that help keep guns out of the hands of our most dangerous people.

Five years after the Arizona mass shooting that killed six and injured 13, including the Congresswoman, Giffords calls this her second chance at life.

In prepared remarks, Giffords told the audience, “Stopping gun violence takes courage, the courage to do what’s right, the courage of new ideas.”

To get those ideas, she and Kelly established the Minnesota Coalition for Common Sense. It is a way to strengthen gun control laws without stepping on the rights of responsible gun owners, like themselves.

“It’s time for our leaders to take a common sense and responsible steps to keep guns out of the wrong hands and make our communities safe,” Kelly said.

About 32,000 Americans die from gun violence each year, and more than 100,000 like Giffords are injured.

So at an Augsburg College roundtable, law enforcement, women’s and gun safety advocates offered solutions. They explored ways to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally unstable, convicted felons and those prone to domestic violence.

“There are small simple remedies I think that we can put in place ultimately that protect people yet protect people’s rights,” Maplewood Police Chief Paul Schnell said.

The challenge will be building legislative support, beginning with closing a loophole that exempts background checks for firearms sold at gun shows.

“I’ve seen great courage when my life was on the line. Now is the time to come together, to be responsible,” Giffords said.

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