Editorial: Getting shot doesn’t make you an expert on Gun Control

On January 8, 2011 Gabby Giffords was shot in the head by a crazy person with a gun. Her recovery from such a traumatic injury was heroic and inspiring to anyone who has been victimized by crime and survived.


Two years later, Mrs. Giffords along with her husband founded Americans for Responsible Solutions, a PAC that advocates for further restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms. Just this week, Mrs. Giffords was in my former home state of Washington to lobby in favor of a sweeping universal background check bill that will deeply infringe the rights of the citizens of Washington, many of whom are my friends and family.

I have nothing but the utmost respect for the guts and toughness it must take to overcome being shot in the brain and moving on with your life. However, in her advocacy for more gun control, Mrs. Giffords has placed herself on a pedestal above criticism simply because she was a victim of a mass shooting. This attitude of saintly victims is nothing new to the gun control community – Colin Goddard, a victim of the VA Tech shooting was for a time a leading mouthpiece for the now floundering Brady Campaign.

Mrs. Giffords’ status as a victim is central to her support of gun control. Even when not mentioned directly, which is done frequently, it exists behind everything she says. That subtle pressure that her opinions are beyond reproach because she’s been shot by a mass shooter so she must be knowledgeable, she must be an authority. Because it’s a very emotional argument, we frequently let it slide; because of her protected status as a sainted victim of violence, we don’t call out her argument for what it is: emotion based nonsense.

If you remove what she’s saying from the gun debate, it becomes this: “I was t-boned by a drunk driver, thus I am expert on drunk driving.” Well, the truth is that you’re probably not. What you are is motivated to curb drunk driving, because it hurt you. I’m not saying that it isn’t possible for someone who was a victim of a mass shooting (or drunk driving) to become a legitimate expert on that topic. Anyone can learn, and anyone can become educated.

When someone relies on their victimhood, when their supporters use that victim status to shout down dissent and criticism, that’s when we all know that you’re not an expert. Gabby Giffords was shot. That is a tragedy, and I dearly wish her health and wellness for the remainder of her life. The man who shot her will spend the rest of his life in prison,a nd that’s a good thing.

But don’t pretend for a second that getting shot by a psychopath makes you an expert on the gun issue. Mrs. Giffords, it’s time to stop. Your status as a victim does not grant you the right to infringe on the Constitutional rights of Americans everywhere.


  1. Mr.&Mrs.Giffords are both gun owners.They both seem to have a fondness for that nasty black M-4 rifle that liberals hate so much but the truth is it is the gun of choice of Liberal firearms enthusiasts , can I say,’closet gun owners’. If you research it you will find out 99% of the rich and Political gun ban crowd own firearms,they just don’t want average joe & Sally Americans to have firearms.

  2. I remember shortly after her tragedy, it came out that her husband owned some guns. Be that as it may, a couple weeks ago, I read an article that had a picture in it of Gabby Giffords with an AR-15. I suppose it could have been photo shopped, but I saw no denial from her since that time. Then, there was the article about the senator from NC, who is a gun control advocate, shooting an intruder in his home.,Just last week, I read an article that Diane Feinstein carries a handgun. Do these people actually believe that they belong to an elite part of our society and that enables them to own firearms, while the rest of us become prey for criminals?

  3. I find one flaw with your analogy on drunk driving, Caleb. You state: [“I was t-boned by a drunk driver, thus I am expert on drunk driving.” Well, the truth is that you’re probably not. What you are is motivated to curb drunk driving, because it hurt you.]

    What Gabby Giffords is doing is trying to ban or curb legal gun ownership. Driving while drunk is an illegal activity, much like shooting a bunch of innocent people is (mass shooting). What they are doing is analogous to getting hit by a drunk driver, and then trying to make it exceedingly difficult or illegal for ALL people to even buy a car.

    Stated more accurately: “I was t-boned by a drunk driver, thus I am an expert on driving and I want to make it very difficult for ANY person to obtain a vehicle period. The less vehicles we have on the road, the less likely someone else will be hurt by a drunk driver. I wish everyone would just voluntarily give up their cars. The world would be a safer place with no cars in it.”

    Now put that into context that driving is a privilege and not a Constitutional Right.

  4. Want a more controvertial version of this that will cause your favorite firearms forum to explode in accusations? How about firearms instructors that have or have not been in shootings? Does being in a shooting, even one where you succeeded, make you an expert? *hides behind couch*

  5. I don’t think “heroic” is an appropriate word to describe her. Even the smallest, most meek animal will try to live. She just lived, through the help of doctors. And now she is not heroic, she’s a puppet. A ghastly prop being used by politicians. I’ve not seen any evidence that she is capable of doing much more than smile and answer simple questions. Someone always seems to speak for her when more than a few words are necessary.

  6. Another analogy could be that someone who has been the victim of a car accident is now an expert about vehicles, vehicle design and function, who should be allowed to own cars and when and if they should be allowed to drive them. Laws based on victimization tend to be retributive in nature and therefore not wisely considered or responsibly applied. I’m truly sorry she was shot, but she now wants us all to pay the price for what one deranged individual did to her. Another analogy: Every car owner should not pay the price for one drunk driver who hurts someone. That drunk driver is the one responsible for their actions. And car ownership isn’t even a constitutionally protected right.

  7. VERY WELL WRITTEN CDH!! and it is sad, just pathetic, that a woman with that much guts & fight, could yield to such a FLAWED ideology as “RESTRICTIVE GUN CONTROL”….The Sandyhook massacre is an anomaly, but Mrs. Gifford’s attack was more the common thread…a heartless, thoughtless, (even demonically inspired), act of raw hate. Any common sense, thinking individual, KNOWS that, (given the opportunity to take advantage of weak & unarmed people), such a deranged mindset will do just as that bass cretin did to Mrs. Gifford. It’s simply pathetic that she’s willing to allow herself, after such a valiant effort to overcome, be used to make SURE that happens again!?!

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