WEST HARTFORD--A "lethal mix" is what former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords calls the combination of domestic abuse and guns.
The gun control advocate, who was critically injured in a mass shooting in 2011, brought her message to Connecticut on Thursday. Giffords appeared in West Hartford as part of a whirlwind national tour of nine stops in eight days.
The former U.S. Representative spoke against gun violence and domestic abuse and advocated for tougher gun laws to help protect women and families.
"Dangerous people with guns are a threat to women. Criminals with guns, abusers with guns, stalkers with guns--makes gun violence a women's issue," Giffords said.
Gifford's national tour, called "Protect All Women," is pushing for tougher state and federal laws that make it more difficult for domestic abusers to get access to firearms.
During a one-hour roundtable discussion with domestic violence prevention advocates and others, Gifford said, "For mothers, for families, for me and you, women can lead the way. We stand for common sense. We stand up for responsibility. We can change our laws, we can win elections."
Gifford's advocacy group notes abuse victims are five times more likely to be killed if an aggressor has access to a gun.
Each year, on average there are 14 such domestic violence homicides in Connecticut.
"Any opportunity to talk around how we can talk further to create stronger protections for women, especially in this very unique, lethal circumstance," said Karen Jarmoc, CEO of the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADV).
Many in the roundtable discussion spoke of the need for more to be done to strengthen laws at the state level.
Nancy Tyler, a local attorney and a CCADV board member, says her ex-husband held her at gunpoint at their home while they were going through a divorce.
"I was very lucky I survived and other women don't. Not enough is being done to prevent these things from happening again," Tyler said.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal told the roundtable he first met Giffords when she traveled to the homes of the Newtown victims shortly after the tragedy at Sandy Hook.
The senator has introduced legislation preventing anyone with a temporary restraining order to access a gun.
"Now is the time to re-invigorate and re-double these efforts," Blumenthal said.
Despite extensive lobbying, Congress failed to pass any gun-control laws following the Newtown shootings. Pro-gun groups lobbied extensively against bans on assault weapons and universal background checks.
Gifford will head to Pennsylvania for the next stop on her tour on Friday, and the last stop will be in Seattle, Washington on Oct. 22.