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Shooting victim Giffords starts gun controls drive

Former US congresswoman and shooting victim Gabrielle Giffords has launched her own campaign for more gun controls.

She and her astronaut husband, Mark Kelly, said their Americans for Responsible Solutions initiative would help raise money to support greater gun control efforts.

Last week they visited Newtown, Connecticut, where 20 children and six adults were killed in one of the US's deadliest school shootings.

The launch yesterday came on the second anniversary of the Tucson shooting that left Ms Giffords critically wounded and cut short her career in Washington.

Barack Obama's administration was calling gun owner groups, victims' organisations and representatives from the video-game industry to the White House this week for talks on potential policy proposals for curbing gun violence.

The president has ordered a task force to send him proposals by the end of January. The group, led by vice-president Joe Biden, was formed in response to last month's horrific massacre at Newtown.

Recommendations made by Mr Biden are likely to include proposals for legislation, as well as executive action Mr Obama can sign into law without needing approval from Congress.

Mr Obama already has called on it to reinstate a ban on military-style assault weapons, close loopholes that allow gun buyers to skirt background checks and restrict high-capacity magazines.

While the president may consider additional gun control measures, he also has ordered his administration to examine ways to improve mental health coverage and consider cultural issues like violence in video games and movies.

l The trial has started of a former graduate student accused of shooting a dozen people to death at a Colorado cinema as they watched a midnight screening of the Batman film The Dark Knight Rises.

James Holmes sat impassively in court as police witnesses told how they confronted him wearing a helmet, gas mask and head-to-toe body armour after the shooting in the Denver suburb Aurora last July.

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