U of M hosts anti-gun violence advocate Gabby Giffords for discussion, presentation

With midterms closing in, the topic of gun control is once again taking center stage

“We must do something, we must stop gun violence,” said former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords in Minnesota Friday.

Giffords nearly died after being gunned down in an Arizona parking lot in 2011. Since, she has been traveling the country the past few months repeating the same message.

“Make our country a safer place, a better place,” she said. “Do you have the courage to fight? Stand with me. Vote, vote, vote.”

At her side was her husband. He’s retired navy pilot and astronaut Mark Kelly.

“There’s a lot of hope on this issue,” Kelly said. “The politics have changed. We gotta get the right people elected.”

Their morning roundtable in Minneapolis featured a discussion with victims, gun control advocates and students.

“Every time I start a new class, I look at the entrances and the exits and I go through my plan every single class period,” said student Sidney Lewis. “What would I do if someone entered our room and started shooting at us?”

In addition to the students, three DFL candidates Giffords’ group has endorsed were present as well. Ilhan Omar, Dean Phillips and Tim Walz were all in attendance.

“When I go to young people, I say, ‘What are the things that trouble you the most?’ It’s two things, it’s school shootings and college debt,” said Rep. Tim Walz, a candidate for Governor.

The afternoon session was a town hall meeting hosted by Comedy Central’s Jordan Klepper with Giffords once again speaking her message.

Their biggest point to students is activism is more than marching. It’s voting.

“So hopefully you can encourage young people to get out there and vote,” Kelly said. “If you do this, you get the right people into office.”