orangeleader.com (Orange, Texas)

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January 8, 2013

Giffords, Kelly launch gun control lobbying effort

(Continued)

TUCSON, Ariz. — Tucson residents held events over the weekend to mark the anniversary of the Saturday morning when Loughner opened fire with a pistol with a 30-round magazine that he emptied in just 40 seconds.

Rep. Ron Barber, then a Giffords aide, was shot in the thigh and cheek, and went on to replace his boss in Congress. He supports an outright ban on high-capacity magazines and a new federal assault weapons ban while acknowledging there are millions of both already in circulation that will remain there.

"There's no way that those are going to be taken or collected - there's no way that's possible," Barber said Monday. "But if we can move forward toward controlling the accessibility or access to those magazines or assault rifles we can go a long way to minimizing or possibly preventing future tragedies."

Barber plans to mark the moment of the shooting at a private gathering with staff and family members. He will also visit a hospital to thank doctors who treated him and other victims and attend an evening prayer service.

Barber also is pushing for better mental health care and early intervention into school bullying, which he said can lead to serious mental health issues.

"I think it's a very complicated issue and no one or two or even three steps are going to address it or get rid of mass shooting in the future," Barber said.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican who vetoed GOP-sponsored bills twice in two years that would have allowed guns on school campuses and in public buildings, said Monday she's expecting more legislation in the wake of the Connecticut shooting, but she offered no suggestions.

"It will be something that I'm sure will be addressed in the Legislature and my ears are all open, and I'm certainly anxious if there is a solution that we get it done," she said.

Loughner pleaded guilty in the Tucson shooting in November and was sentenced to seven consecutive life sentences plus 140 years.

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