1. ITV Report

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords launches gun control campaign

Former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords with husband Mark Kelly Photo: REUTERS/Giffords for Congress/PK Weis/Handout

President Obama has gained the support of a valuable ally in his plans to strengthen gun laws in the wake of the shooting at a primary school in Connecticut.

Former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head two years ago, has criticised Congress for doing nothing to end the terror of mass shootings in the US.

Giffords, herself a gun owner, is starting a campaign with her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, after a string of recent shootings.

It comes as Vice President Joe Biden forms an action group to look at gun law reform and is expected to meet members of the pro-gun National Rifle Association in the coming days.

ITV News' Washington Correspondent Robert Moore spoke to one of Giffords' closest aides who is credited with saving her life:

Giffords was shot in the head while meeting constituents in Tucson, Arizona two years ago.

Six people were killed and 13 wounded in that attack when shooter Jared Loughner opened fire outside a supermarket.

In response to a horrific series of shootings that has sown terror in our communities, victimized tens of thousands of Americans, and left one of its own bleeding and near death in a Tucson parking lot, Congress has done something quite extraordinary - nothing at all.

– gabrielle giffords writing in usa today

Since then, public debate over gun control has been fuelled by a rampage at the screening of a Batman film in Colorado in July 2012 that killed 12 people and wounded 58 others.

The massacre of 20 schoolchildren and six teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut came just months later in December.

Giffords' campaign, Americans for Responsible, Solutions aims to raise funds for gun control efforts and balance the influence of the pro-gun lobby.

The initiative will push for background checks for private gun buyers and look at ways to better address mental illness, among other efforts.