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Associated Press photos

Woman of few words makes powerful statement on guns

One of the most striking elements of Gabrielle Giffords’ appearance in Congress this week was watching her calmly and patiently stand before a virtual army of photographers two years after being seriously injured by a mass murderer on a shooting spree in a Tucson, Ariz., parking lot.

“Speaking is difficult,” she began, surely an understatement given her head injuries. “But I need to say something important.”

Giffords’ determination to say it was apparent. So was the devotion and support of her astronaut husband Mark Kelly, who buttressed Giffords’ overall message with specifics, such as the very common-sense idea of checking the background of every gun buyer.

But even that was too much for the National Rifle Association’s Wayne LaPierre (above), who considers it too much of a burden to find out whether a gun buyer has a record of mental illness or even a criminal conviction. (No checks are required for private-party gun sales, including those at gun shows.) LaPierre repeated the tired refrain of the nation already having too many gun laws – hypocritical considering many of those laws in recent years were pushed by, yes, the NRA – to make it easier to buy, carry and even use guns on other people with “stand your ground” laws.

LaPierre may have used more words, but Giffords said so much more.