Gabby Giffords' group announces 2014 election strategy

The group founded by former Rep. Gabby Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly to help push for changes in gun laws will continue trying to counter the efforts of the powerful National Rifle Association this election year.

Group officials announced they will focus on seven key Senate races and four House re-election contests that are expected to be close.

Americans for Responsible Solutions' political action committee will back Democratic Sens. Al Franken of Minnesota, Mark Udall of Colorado, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Kay Hagan of North Carolina, who are some of the most endangered incumbents.

Aiming to spend as much as $20 million, the group also will weigh in for Democratic House Reps. Michael Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Carol Shea-Porter and Ann McLane Kuster of New Hampshire and Ron Barber of Arizona. Barber has a special meaning for Giffords because he used to work in her congressional office and was also wounded in the 2011 Tucson shooting that gravely wounded Giffords.

The organization will help support at least one Republican, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who supported the bill to expand background checks at gun shows in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. But the measure fell short of the votes needed to advance in the Senate.

Giffords and Kelly are still calling for expanded background checks as the group urges candidates to adopt a position to prevent gun violence.

"For more than two decades, the political wisdom has been that candidates can't talk about responsible gun ownership and win. But times have changed, and one thing we learned in Virginia and believe is true across the country is that leaders who support responsible gun ownership policies can and should effectively talk about the issue," Pia Carusone, the senior adviser for the group, said in a statement.

The organization put in $600,000 last year in Virginia, where Democrat Terry McAuliffe captured the governorship.

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