Second Amendment support? Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., visited a gun show in New York this weekend, using the photo op to reiterate her support for universal background checks. “Stopping gun violence takes courage—the courage to do what’s right. The courage of new ideas. Now is the time to come together,” Giffords said, amid both boos and cheers. Legislation passed in January made gun sales in New York among the most regulated in the nation. Dealers at the Saratoga show told the Times Union in Albany they were happy to have Giffords and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, at the show, even though they disagreed with their message. When asked about the stricter background checks, Richard Meron said, “I think it stinks. They want to stop the ‘Meet-me-out-in-the-parking-lot’ deals, but that’s still going to happen. There are so many guns out there.” Jared Loughner, a gun-toting man with mental health problems, shot Giffords and 18 other people in January 2011. Kelly and Giffords describe themselves as Second Amendment supporters, but they advocate for stricter gun control, a mixed message that has so far failed to gain much national traction. Kelly told reporters he loved gun shows and would have bought a gun in Saratoga if he’d had more time.
Stay away. Meanwhile, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is urging national gun control groups to stay away from his state and a vicious recall election that could give Republicans control of the state Senate. Gun rights advocates succeeded in recalling two state lawmakers, both Democrats, earlier this year in a coup that even Hickenlooper admits was a surprise. They’re now going after Sen. Evie Hudak, a two-term Democrat from a suburban district north of Denver. The effort targets lawmakers who supported stricter gun-control measures adopted earlier this year. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg poured millions into the campaign to keep the ousted lawmakers, a strategy Hickenlooper now says might have backfired: “Colorado is a state that people like to be themselves and solve their own problems. They don’t really like outside organizations meddling in their affairs, and maybe the NRA gets a pass on that.”
Lost, and found. Hunters found a 72-year-old San Francisco man this weekend after he spent 19 days lost in the Mendocino County wilderness. Gene Penaflor was on a hunting trip himself when he got separated from his friend, hit his head, and passed out. Search and rescue teams from 18 agencies had been looking for him. The hunters found him less than four miles from where his friend reported him missing. Penaflor told his rescuers he survived on squirrels and lizards and kept himself warm, even during two snowfalls, by nestling under a log and covering himself with grass and leaves.
Retail madness. The holiday shopping season is almost upon us, and department store Macy’s announced today it plans to open some of its stores on Thanksgiving Day to take advantage of the pre-Black Friday retail spree. Macy’s is following a “holiday creep” trend among retailers, who started opening at midnight on Thanksgiving several years ago. Now, several national chains open while people are still trying to digest their turkey and dressing. Toys R Us, Target, Walmart, Sears, and Kmart are among retailers who open around 8 p.m. and stay open through Black Friday.