By Daniel Strauss - 07/02/13 11:39 AM EDT
Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) fired a gun Monday for the first time since she was shot in the head during a 2011 mass shooting.
Giffords shot the gun at the Clark County Shooting Complex in Las Vegas, her first stop on a seven-state bus tour as she and husband Mark Kelly push to expand background checks on firearm purchases.
In a video obtained by ABC News, Giffords, wearing a green cardigan and brace on her right arm, is seen at the shooting range firing a handgun as Kelly looks on.
The former lawmaker has become a vocal advocate for tougher gun control laws, forming the PAC Americans for Responsible Solutions. Giffords has said she hopes to build the group as a counterweight to the National Rifle Association, the nation’s largest gun rights lobby.
In an op-ed published in USA Today on Monday announcing the gun control tour, Giffords said she believed in the Second Amendment, but firearm owners needed to do more to stop the epidemic of gun violence
“Some might consider me an unlikely advocate for gun rights because I sustained terrible injuries in a violent shooting. But I'm a patriot, and I believe the right to bear arms is a definitive part of our American heritage,” Giffords wrote. “For centuries, that right has come with the responsibility to use our guns safely and ensure that our families, our communities and our children are protected.”
Polls show that an overwhelming majority of Americans support stricter background checks, but efforts to pass legislation fell short in the Senate. After Nevada, Giffords will travel to Alaska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Maine and New Hampshire in hopes of pressing senators in those states who voted against the measure.