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Former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords spent part of the fourth year anniversary of the mass shooting that left her gravely wounded meeting with President Barack Obama as her city paused to remember the tragedy that left six dead and 13 injured.
The Gilbert Town Council has recently decided to pull the trigger, so to speak, and allow concealed weapons in public buildings. Any reluctance to take this action was overcome by the assurance that only those who had a concealed weapons permit would be allowed to carry guns in Gilbert public buildings. Those without permits would be expected to store their weapons in lockers provided by taxpayer expense. Let’s hope the lockers are big enough to accommodate assault rifles in addition to handguns.
Here is a roll call of some of the famous people who died in 2014.
Gilbert’s 2014 was filled with a mix of progress and tumult among its governing entities. Its main school district continued to earn high marks but still went through a contentious year, while the town government itself currently faces a suit in the U.S. Supreme Court.
Gilbert’s Town Council has reached an accord to allow some gun users to bring weapons into the town’s public buildings.
PHOENIX (AP) — Republicans will have their largest U.S. House majority in 83 years when the new Congress convenes next month after a recount in Arizona gave the final unresolved midterm race to a Republican challenger.
>> This information is provided in community partnership with Harkins Theatres. For showtimes, theater locations and tickets, go to HarkinsTheatres.com.
>> This information is provided in community partnership with Harkins Theatres. For showtimes, theater locations and tickets, go to HarkinsTheatres.com.
Outside groups that want Doug Ducey as Arizona's next governor have spent enough to give every man, woman and child in the state a dollar — and still have $1 million left over. That doesn't count the $2.2 million that Ducey himself has spent in the general election, on top of the $5 million he expended just getting to be the Republican nominee in the first place.
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — In many ways, this year's congressional races in Arizona feel like deja vu. The state is again host to some of the nation's most closely watched contests.
One race features a rematch between the same two candidates from the 2012 election. Another race has Democrat Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick fighting to keep her job in a vast swing district, a replay of the 2010 and 2012 election cycles.
All of Arizona's nine congressional seats are being voted on in Tuesday's election, but the races attracting most of the attention are the 1st and 2nd Congressional District contests.
Democratic Rep. Ron Barber and Republican Martha McSally are battling again for the Tucson-area 2nd District, while Kirkpatrick is squaring off against former Arizona House Speaker Andy Tobin, a Republican, in the other race.
Voters have been bombarded with ads as the candidates and outside groups are spending millions to influence the outcome.
In one, McSally mocks Barber's attacks on her, using an actor to facetiously accuse her of disliking puppies. The ad closes in on McSally holding a puppy. "Watch it," she tells the actor.
An ad that featured a crying mother whose daughter had been killed by her stalker accused McSally of supporting gun rights for misdemeanor-convicted stalkers.
It was sponsored by Americans for Responsible Solutions, the gun control group founded by former Rep. Gabby Giffords and husband Mark Kelly. McSally denounced the ad and said she'd been a victim of stalking herself.
Americans for Responsible Solutions then pulled it, saying McSally had reversed her initial position. The group later aired another ad featuring Giffords praising Barber.
Giffords and the issue of gun control have been prominent in the race for the district in which six were killed and 13 were injured in the January 2011 mass shooting at a constituent event.
Giffords and Barber, then an aide for the congresswoman, were wounded in the attack.
"I'm hearing (voters) are looking forward to seeing an advertisement from a car dealership soon because they're just so sick of the political ads," said Barbara Lubin, the spokeswoman for the Arizona Democratic Party.
"It remains to be seen how much extra additional spending adds to either the turnout of the overall voters or really changes the results," Arizona Republican Party spokesman Tim Sifert said.
In the 1st Congressional District, Kirkpatrick is fighting a tough battle with the well-known Tobin to keep her seat.
Kirkpatrick won the seat against Republican Jonathan Paton by only a few thousand votes last time around. That was after she'd lost it in 2010 to another conservative Republican.
But Tobin was late to the game after a hard-fought, three-way battle in the Republican primary.
In Maricopa County, Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema is facing challenger Wendy Rogers, a Republican who lost in the GOP primary in 2012 in the district.
Sinema has raised much more money than Rogers, a retired Air Force officer who has refused to publicly debate the incumbent. Democrats are confident Sinema will win, but Republicans are hoping anti-Democratic sentiment on Tuesday will give them a chance to pick up a seat.
Arizona has six other congressional districts that are holding elections Tuesday:
3rd District: Democratic Rep. Raul Grijalva is facing off with Republican Gabriela Saucedo Mercer. Grijalva has held that seat for six terms and is likely to win a seventh.
4th District: Republican Rep. Paul Gosar will also likely keep his seat, which encompasses rural areas west and northwest of Phoenix. His opponent is Democrat Mikel Weisser.
5th District: The district spans from Gilbert to Chandler to parts of Mesa. Republican Matt Salmon won the seat in 2012 and is facing Democrat James Woods this year.
6th District: Republican David Schweikert holds the seat that includes parts of Maricopa County and the southeastern Phoenix suburbs. Schweikert is running again, this time against Democrat John W. Williamson.
7th District: Ruben Gallego, a Democrat, is the heavy favorite for the seat vacated by the retirement of longtime Rep. Ed Pastor. Gallego is a Harvard-educated, Iraq War veteran from a single-parent home who was the first in his family to graduate from college. He won the August primary, easily putting him on track to win Tuesday in the heavily Democratic district.
8th District: Rep. Trent Franks, a Republican, represents this district northwest of Phoenix. He is challenged by Stephen Dolgos, a Democrat.
PHOENIX -- Outside groups that want Doug Ducey as Arizona's next governor have spent enough to give every man, woman and child in the state a dollar -- and still have $1 million left over.
If this latest Ebola scandal doesn’t make undecided Arizona voters to chose a Republican slate, nothing will. Where to begin? The “Fast & Furious” gun-selling to Mexican drug cartels from the Democrat Department of Justice. The Democrat-controlled IRS tea party scandal. The Democrat State Department (with Hillary Clinton at the helm), The Benghazi scandal where three security officers and the ambassador to Libya were murdered while our trillion-dollar military sat on their hands. The Democrat-controlled Veterans Affairs hospital scandal. The Democrat-controlled National Security Administration, FBI, and CIA “Spying on every single American” scandal.
SEATTLE (AP) — She has delivered the same 64-word speech eight times already, but Gabby Giffords is struggling to get through the ninth.
"Together, we can win elections," the former Arizona congresswoman tells her Seattle audience before starting to stumble.
After a moment of confused silence, an aide whispers the next line, and Giffords continues the broken sentence: "... change our laws."
Four years after she was shot in the head and went on to inspire millions with her recovery, Giffords is as committed as ever to pushing for tighter gun-control laws. But in the final days of this year's midterm elections, few candidates are willing to rally to her cause. There's little to suggest those elected next week will pursue the changes she seeks in the nation's gun laws.
As Giffords visited nine states in the past two weeks, the National Rifle Association was working in at least 30, with advertising and get-out-the-vote manpower, to strengthen its position in Washington and state capitals. She will be widely outspent this year by the NRA and others who support the rights of gun owners.
Two days after Giffords' appearance in Seattle, a 15-year-old high school student shot and killed two people and killed himself in an attack north of the city that seriously wounded three others. The shooting has barely made a ripple in the final days of the campaign.
"Long, hard haul," Giffords told The Associated Press in a brief interview after her Seattle event, using one of the short phrases that now dominate her speech.
In part by design, but also in recognition of the country's political landscape, not a single candidate in this year's midterm elections for statewide or federal office appeared with Giffords as she made her way from Maine to Washington state over 10 days.
She drew visits from Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, both Democrats, neither running for re-election next month.
"If this happened in March or December or any other time, we'd have asked other politicians to join," said Marti Anderson, an Iowa state lawmaker who helped organize a Giffords event in Des Moines. "But it's risky 15 days before an election."
Instead, Giffords took part in a series of discussions about domestic violence in smaller venues such as a Des Moines public library and a high school classroom in Portland, Ore. With the Senate majority at stake, Giffords isn't running television ads in states where Democratic incumbents are seeking re-election, among them North Carolina, Arkansas, Louisiana and New Hampshire.
The exception is Iowa, where her group announced plans this week to run television ads against Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst. "Joni Ernst won't vote to close the loophole that lets some dangerous people still get guns," Story County Sheriff Paul Fitzgerald says in the ad set to run through Election Day.
Said Pia Carusone, Giffords' longtime chief aide, "We went in knowing we had to be strategic and careful."
The NRA has no such concerns. The powerful gun-rights lobby has spent more than $27.3 million this year on elections in at least 27 states through Oct. 15, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Giffords' organization, by contrast, has spent just $6.6 million in seven states.
The financial advantage is just one piece of the NRA's strength.
"Anyone who tries to gauge the National Rifle Association by money alone is making a huge mistake," said NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam, citing 5 million dues-paying members and many more voters who look to his organization for guidance on how to vote on Election Day.
Arulanandam said he's grateful that Giffords is "on the mend and getting better every day," but he criticized her political goals. "People realize that regardless of what she says, her endgame is similar to Michael Bloomberg and President Obama, which is draconian gun control," he said.
Giffords and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, have gone to great lengths to rebut such criticism. Recently, with little sign that an effort to adopt universal background checks will pass in Congress, Giffords has focused on promoting a measure that would prevent convicted stalkers and abusive "dating partners" from accessing guns.
In a letter opposing the measure, the NRA says it "manipulates emotionally compelling issues such as 'domestic violence' and 'stalking' simply to cast as wide a net as possible for federal firearm prohibitions."
Giffords' team was initially hopeful, but it now concedes that the bill is not likely to come up in Congress' lame-duck session. And while the mood was largely positive during Giffords' tour, the frustration they're not connecting with voters this election season was evident.
"It's hard not to be, as a person in this country, disappointed by the lack of response," Carusone said. "But we're not surprised. We knew this wouldn't be easy."
In this Oct. 22, 2014 file photo, former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords speaks in support of Initiative 594, a measure seeking universal background checks on gun sales and transfers, Wednesday, in Seattle. She has delivered the same 64-word speech eight times already, but Giffords is struggling to get through the ninth. She has trekked almost 7,000 miles in two weeks to appear at this Seattle athletic club, where dozens of women and several reporters are gathered for the final stop of her nine-state “Protect All Women Tour.” But nearing the end of her first full election season as the nation’s most recognizable gun control advocate, things aren’t going exactly as she hoped. Despite raising more than $20 million to fund a national political operation, gun violence is little more than an afterthought in all but a handful of contests across the country. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
It’s sometimes difficult to remove political or philosophical underpinnings from an artistic review. The goal is to judge a film or book or album or TV show on either artistic or intellectual criteria, but all evaluations are biased by their nature, and keeping the non-critical viewpoints from seeping into the process is a tremendous difficulty.
“Sometimes the airplanes in Chandler are so loud and low, I feel like I am in a war zone.”
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords and her husband were finally starting to settle into normal routine in their Tucson home by the middle of 2012, making strides in her rehabilitation, decorating their house and watching hour after hour of the TV show "Glee."
Then came the movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colorado, that left 12 dead and many more injured. Months later, 20 children and six adults were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
"Newtown moved us from words to action," Giffords and husband Mark Kelly write in their book "Enough: Our Fight to Keep America Safe from Gun Violence."
The book chronicles the couple's lives from survivors to advocates, detailing the trepidation Kelly had about plunging himself into the politics of gun control. It delves into the history of the National Rifle Association while telling of Giffords' recovery efforts and the couple's political action committee, Americans for Responsible Solutions.
The book and an Associated Press interview with Kelly this week provide a behind-the-scenes look at the couple as they moved past the shooting and took a greater role on the national stage:
Giffords and Kelly describe ways in which their gun-control advocacy has helped the former congresswoman move forward and regain her speech skills after she was wounded in the January 2011 shooting outside a Tucson supermarket that killed six people.
They detail the difficulty Giffords had in articulating the lines in a speech at a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee in January 2013. But the complexity of the issue "motivated her to work even harder," they wrote.
The former lawmaker is even back to shooting, picking up a gun for the first time at a Nevada range in the summer of 2013.
Giffords had to use her left hand to fire because her right hand is paralyzed. She's not left-handed, so Kelly worried.
But was Giffords nervous?
"No, she wasn't. At all," Kelly said.
ON JARED LOUGHNER
As Jared Loughner was sentenced in November 2012 after being convicted of carrying out the shooting, Kelly and Giffords told him that was the last time they'd ever think of him.
"There's what you say in a statement and what actually happens and, as you know, those are two different things," Kelly said.
Kelly says the couple had every intention of erasing Loughner, who received seven life sentences, from their minds.
The Aurora and Newtown shootings halted that plan.
ON THE POLITICAL FIGHT FOR STRICTER GUN LAW
Even after Giffords nearly died when she was shot in the head, she and Kelly say they kept their firearms and remained staunch supporters of the Second Amendment.
While Giffords was a seasoned politician, Kelly had concerns about taking on politics.
"There was risk involved that we wouldn't be able to meet that ambitious goal, and then what does that say? That says we're not effective in what we want to do," Kelly said in the interview. "You have people who start to think about you differently. But Gabby's a politician, and I'm not that sensitive about things."
FRIENDSHIPS ARE TESTED
A long-lasting friendship between Giffords and Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake was tested when he voted against a background-check bill that the couple rallied for.
"I had such complicated feelings about our old friend that morning," Kelly wrote.
Kelly believes Flake was under huge pressure from the NRA to vote against the bill.
Flake, meanwhile, said in a statement to The Associated Press: "I have a great deal of respect and affection for Gabby and Mark. They have been very effective in advocating for a cause that they deeply believe in."
WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS
The couple now lives in Tucson, where Giffords works on her speech and physical therapy. They like to go to Giffords' mother's rural home to shoot guns, Kelly says.
But they don't have much free time, travelling and speaking in support of legislative candidates.
"We're gonna be really effective here in November," Kelly said. "We're gonna move ahead, and we're not going anywhere. What this country really needs is a balanced debate on this issue. And it's been really out of balance, so our job is to try to fix that."
“Extremely disappointing that every single Republican senator voted against overturning Citizens United. Keep voting for them, people; they only represent their rich corporate masters, not you the voter. This latest vote should make that obviously clear to all who weren’t already aware. Thanks McCain and Flake, for keeping money as speech and corporations as people.”
The state's high court is being asked to decide when groups attacking politicians up for election have to disclose who is financing the effort.
House Speaker Andy Tobin will carry the Republican banner in the race to oust Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick from Congress.
To drive down the 101 and admire Talking Stick Resort, Salt River Fields and pristine farmland you’d never guess that beyond the obvious beauty and the increasing wealth of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community there exists an extremely serious crime problem. A crime problem driven by organized crime gangs with ties to prison gangs and, ultimately Mexico based drug cartels, whose crime sprees don't stop at tribal boundaries, but extend well into the bordering cities of Mesa, Phoenix, Scottsdale, Tempe and beyond.
“Ferguson police had armored personnel carriers, machine guns, sniper rifles, grenades, not to mention enough tear gas for World War III. All of this military hardware was possessed in the name of terrorism and not one terrorist was caught or killed. All that this military equipment does is cause deafness in elected officials and used only to combat the First Amendment.”
Candidates seeking the Republican nomination for Arizona governor spent the final day before the primary election holding rallies at gun ranges, restaurants, and other businesses.
Candidates for governor and their allies have so far spent close to $16 million in the race to come out on top this coming Tuesday in the Republican primary. And that's what we know about.
Lost in all the big statewide races in Arizona's primary election are hard-fought congressional battles in which Democrats are trying to clinch a Phoenix-area seat and Republicans are vying for the chance to unseat Democratic incumbents in three districts.