11:10 am Feb. 12, 2013
As her guest for tonight's State of the Union address, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand will bring Dan Gross, the president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
Gillibrand is one of several members of Congress who are using their extra ticket to make a statement about gun control. Gross' brother was severely wounded in a shooting at the Empire State Building in 1997.
"Sadly, Dan knows firsthand what it means to have a family member suffer the devastating effects of gun violence," said Gillibrand, through a spokesperson. "I expect that tonight President Obama will continue to show great leadership and urge Congress to listen to the American people's demand that we act on common sense gun safety measures in his State of the Union address. I am pleased that Dan will be able to join me to watch it in person."
The Brady Campaign is one of a handful of gun control groups that Gillibrand has won over since being appointed to the Senate bearing an "A" grade from the National Rifle Association. The Brady Campaign initially said it was "disappointed" at her selection, in part for her opposition, when she was in the House, to a gun trafficking bill.
But Gillibrand quickly got right with gun groups, enlisting the Brady Campaign's help to write a gun trafficking bill that she first introduced in 2009. The group endorsed her in 2010, and applauded her revised "F" rating from the N.R.A.
Gillibrand recently re-introduced the trafficking bill in recent months, as part of President Obama's push for new gun laws, with co-sponsor Mark Kirk, an Illinois Republican. So far, it's the only bipartisan gun legislation, though Sen. Chuck Schumer is currently in talks on a bipartisan background check bill.
The victims of gun violence are likely to be overshadowed by Ted Nugent, an outspoken celebrity-critic of gun laws who is given to violent hyperbole, and was announced yesterday as the guest of Texas congressman Steve Stockman.
Some gun-control advocates think that's fine.