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Gabrielle Giffords returns to Washington to fight for gun bill

PHOENIX — For the first time in U.S. history more children will be killed by guns than by car wrecks in a single year.

That sobering prediction was one of several statistics given to Democrats and Republicans as they prepared to vote on former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ new gun bill.

“Now is the time to come together,” Giffords told a room full of her peers on both party lines Wednesday. “Be responsible! Democrats, Republicans, everyone!”

Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly said the legislation would close loopholes in gun sales by expanding background checks to sales of all commercial firearms.

“This is not a partisan issue, it never has been and it never should be,” Kelly reminded lawmakers. Two years ago, a similar gun safety bill made it all the way to the U.S. Senate floor.

That bill had support a few weeks after a mentally ill man with a gun massacred 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.

“Even though 90 percent of Americans supported the bill, it was blocked by a filibuster in the Senate,” Kelly said. “And members in the House, they weren’t even given the opportunity to vote.”

Kelly and his wife are not giving up.

If the Senate lets the gun background check pass through its floor this session, Republican House leaders said it has their support.