Here are two photos of me that a conservative blog has dug up. I remember both of these days fondly. The first is at the Tucson Police Department firing range. They invited me to test rifles and tasers that they bought with federal funds, which I helped secure. The second was in Afghanistan while I was visiting with our troops serving abroad. My work as Southern Arizona's Congresswoman frequently put me in close contact with some of the world's most powerful and deadly weapons - supporting police departments, advocating for the Border Patrol, standing up for our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and supporting my constituents' and my own Second Amendment rights.
I grew up with guns, and I like owning them. So does my husband Mark. It's an interest we've shared ever since we met. It's part of my heritage as an Arizonan and it's my right as an American. Being able to shoot a gun is something I haven't been able to do since I was shot - because my right arm is paralyzed, and I'm less mobile than I was.
As I member of the House Armed Services Committee, I proudly spent a lot of time with our military, border patrol and state and local law enforcement. I guess the intention of those who have publicized these photos is to somehow call into question my belief that military style assault weapons should be more strongly regulated with background checks and other safeguards. I have never wavered in my support for those who serve our country. I fought to make sure they have the weapons and safety gear needed to carry out their mission, and proper health and mental care when their service ends.
Both sides of the gun violence debate usually miss the point. We don't have to choose between owning, using, and enjoying guns, on one hand, and preventing gun violence, on the other. Both sides need to come together to support commonsense solutions to gun violence, like keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous people like the young man who shot me. That's why I'm fighting this fight. That's why I'm working to bring people together to support gun rights and reduce gun violence. I hope you join me.