Former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and husband Mark Kelly met Wednesday with New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, a man who shares their passion for stricter gun laws.
And late Thursday, ABC News learned that Giffords and Kelly plan to visit Newtown, Conn., on Friday for a private visit with families.
According to Mayor Bloomberg’s office, the closed-door meeting lasted one hour and was the first time Giffords and Bloomberg had met. In January 2011, shortly after Jared Loughner shot Giffords in the head and killed six people outside a supermarket in Tuscon, Bloomberg called for action on guns.
“The more we learn, the more it becomes clear that this case is fundamentally about a mentally ill drug abuser who had access to guns who shouldn’t have,” said Bloomberg three days after the shooting. “As this case makes terribly clear, deadly gaps [in the nation’s gun laws] still remain.”
Later that month, Bloomberg sent undercover investigators to a Phoenix gun show to test how easy it was for criminals, the mentally ill and drug abusers to buy guns in the state.
In February 2012, Bloomberg appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” expressing anger over the fact that the Giffords shooting hadn’t sparked a national dialogue about gun laws. “You’d think that if a congresswoman got shot in the head, that would have changed Congress’ views,” said Bloomberg, who founded the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns in 2006.
Giffords and Mark Kelly have taken up their own campaign against guns and have become active supporters of an assault weapons ban.
Following the school shooting in Newtown, Kelly had released a statement on his Facebook page saying that our response to the shooting “must consist of more than regret, sorrow, and condolence… This can no longer wait.” In the message, Kelly wrote that Gabby sends her prayers to the victims.
“The children of Sandy Hook Elementary School and all victims of gun violence deserve leaders who have the courage to participate in a meaningful discussion about our gun laws,” wrote Kelly.
The New York mayor has also called for that same meaningful discussion.