Programming note: Watch the second part of Dana Bash's interview with Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly on AC360° at 8 and 10 p.m. ET Wednesday.
Gabby Giffords, a powerful advocate for stricter gun legislation, is optimistic about universal background checks. She and her husband, Mark Kelly, spoke exclusively with CNN's Dana Bash about her recovery and efforts to change gun laws.
Editor's note: See more of Dana Bash's interview with Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly on AC360° at 8 and 10 p.m. ET tonight.
What is most shocking about Gabby Giffords now is how much she looks like her old self. Her golden locks are back, so is the sparkle in her eyes and her broad smile. Gone is the short hair and thin frame we saw at the beginning of her recovery.
Yet she knows she will never be the same.
"Stronger. Stronger, better, tougher. Stronger, better, tougher." That's how Giffords describes herself.
The former Arizona congresswoman makes that declaration with determination and gusto. But it still takes a considerable amount of energy and concentration to articulate that, or anything else.
Programming note: See more of Dana Bash's interview with Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly on AC360° at 8 and 10 p.m. ET Tuesday night.
Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, tell CNN's Dana Bash that they continue to own guns for recreation. Giffords was severely wounded during a 2011 shooting rampage that injured 12 others and killed six in Tucson.
For target practice, Kelly uses the same type of gun Giffords was shot with, a 9mm Glock, but with a magazine that can hold 17 rounds. The Tucson shooter had a magazine that held 33 rounds.
They believe they have credibility in the gun control debate because they are long-time gun owners who support Second Amendment rights. The couple is campaigning for stricter gun laws, including universal background checks, to prevent guns from getting in to the wrong hands.
Former Tucson, Arizona, mayoral candidate Shaun McClusky is leading a campaign to make shotguns available to needy and willing residents as a way of reducing crime in three troubled neighborhoods. Miguel Marquez spoke with McClusky and others in the city about the Armed Citizen Project and found a mixed response.
McClusky says the idea is not just to arm and train, but also to warn lawbreakers that residents are protecting themselves with the weapons. "By flyering the entire neighborhood and making the entire neighborhood aware that this program is coming to your neighborhood, the criminal elements are bound to see the flyer and say now what? Which house has a gun? Which house doesn't have a gun?"
A program designed to arm residents who live in dangerous communities is now operating in Tucson, Arizona. Gabby Gifford's husband, Mark Kelly, calls it "a distraction from the debate."
Kelly, whose wife was shot in a 2011 shooting rampage in Tucson, compares the plan to the NRA's proposal of arming teachers and putting more guns in schools to make them safer.
He's against the idea and is pushing for universal background checks as part of the solution to lowering gun violence in the country.
Will more guns reduce violence and make dangerous communities safer? Former Tucson, Arizona, mayoral candidate Shaun McClusky says arming citizens is the answer. He wants to hand out free shotguns to residents living in three Tucson neighborhoods plagued with high crime.
The national campaign that started in Houston, Texas, is meant to empower, but the concept is controversial. Hear from McClusky tonight, and a local councilman who's opposed to the initiative.
The plan includes advertising which areas are participating in the program, while keeping the specific homes with shotguns confidential. The intention is to keep criminals guessing which families are protecting themselves with firearms.
The Armed Citizen Project will give shotguns to residents who simply ask for them, provided those interested pass background checks and complete a day of training. The non-profit purchases guns with donations - McClusky says he has raised about $12,000 so far.
Gun control advocates are seizing on newly released documents showing the Sandy Hook shooter had a full-fledged arsenal in his home. What do the new revelations mean for the push for stricter gun laws? Anderson talks with Democratic Strategist Cornell Belcher and The Washington Times’ Emily Miller.
Grace McDonnell's mom and dad want people to understand their pain and loss so they'll take action on gun legislation. Their 7-year-old daughter was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
Lynn and Chris McDonnell met with Vice President Biden and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg today. Anderson Cooper spoke with them about their efforts to prevent another massacre.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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