“Thank you for inviting me here today. This is an important conversation for our children, for our communities, for Democrats and Republicans. Speaking is difficult, but I need to say something important. Violence is a big problem. Too many children are dying. Too many children. We must do something. It will be hard but the time is now. You must act. Be bold. Be courageous. Americans are counting on you. Thank you.” – Gabby Giffords

GUN VIOLENCE survivor, former Rep. Gabby Giffords, spoke today in front of the Senate hearing on gun safety and control. Her husband Mark Kelly was by her side. The effort it took for her to speak brought the horror of what’s happening in America back into stark view.

Wayne LaPierre waited and listened in the audience for his turn at the microphone.

But gun safety advocacy has its price, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo is finding today. Quinnipiac:

Republican disapproval of New York’s tough new gun-control law could be taking a toll on Gov. Andrew Cuomo, whose all-time high 74 – 13 percent job approval rating last month drops to a still-solid 59 – 28 percent in a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Voters in non-gun homes approve of the governor 68 – 19 percent. Voters in households with a gun disapprove 50 – 40 percent.

It’s one reason why former President Bill Clinton got it wrong. Because it doesn’t matter how you talk about gun safety or gun control. All conservative gun owners, Democratic and Republican, take any conversation about new laws very personally.

It’s one reason why Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is not endorsing Senator Diane Feinstein’s assault weapons ban. An assault weapons ban is something I never favored, because assault weapons are not the actual problem, though I understand and respect the cause Feinstein is fighting for.

Universal background checks are the prize, including at all gun shows and any sale. Knowing who owns guns and forcing sellers to be responsible is the big ticket item here.

A national database to connect law enforcement to the information will continue to grow, with the possibility of new technology on bullet identification, and fully staffing the ATF and putting the spine back in our gun laws is important.

Gabby Giffords is a powerful symbol and gun safety advocacy now has their new James Brady. That the Giffords are a gun owning family, not to mention a former Republican, doesn’t hurt.