Tucson widow calls for gun control

Mavy Stoddard's husband Dory died in the Tucson shooting last year that also claimed five lives and wounded Rep. Gabby Giffords.
CBS News

(CBS News) ST. LOUIS - Mavy Stoddard and her husband, Dory, were independent voters who decided to meet their Democratic Representative, Gabby Giffords, at one of her "Congress On Your Corner" events on a Saturday morning last January 8, 2011.

They were the ninth and tenth people in line when the shooting started. Mavy thought she had heard a firecracker. Then she saw a young man with a gun raised about 20 feet away.

"My eyes lit on the shooter as he was pulling the trigger in a shooting stance," Stoddard recalled in an interview at St. Louis City Hall.

Dory, 76, a retired construction worker and church volunteer, immediately pushed her down to the sidewalk and laid on top of her.

"I thought he would shoot and run away. Instead, he walked through the crowd and shot at close range," Stoddard said.

Jared Loughner allegedly shot 19 people, 6 fatally. He held the gun to Dory's left temple and pulled the trigger.

"I felt his is body give under him. I saw the blood start dripping to the concrete," Stoddard said.

She said she knew he faced severe brain damage or death. Dory never spoke another word.

"Within 7 to 10 minutes he was gone," she said.

Mavy Stoddard had been shot in the leg three times but did not know it. One bullet was lodged in her thigh.

"I felt I died with him," Stoddard said. "I had to build a life if I was going to have one."

Stoddard came to St. Louis during the National Rifle Association's annual convention with two other Tucson shooting survivors, Patricia Maisch and Bill Badger to call for more restrictive gun laws.

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"I'm here to advocate that we fix the illegal gun laws to where people selling them have to call and check who they're selling to," Stoddard said.

Loughner was able to purchase a semi-automatic Glock 19 pistol from a local sporting goods store, because he passed a background check. Though he has since been ruled mentally incompetent, which would have disqualified him from gun purchases, Loughner's condition had not been reported to the state or the FBI criminal records system.

Stoddard, who owns three pistols herself, wants lawmakers to close loopholes that allow ineligible individuals obtain guns or for guns to be sold, such as at gun shows or by internet sellers, without conducting background checks. Stoddard also wants the NRA to help.

"They're so afraid that guns are going to be taken from this country. They aren't. They're part of our heritage. We just don't want them put in the hands of children and the felons, and we need that checked," Stoddard said. "We need to stand shoulder to shoulder in this country and try to save our kids."

Stoddard is skeptical of the NRA's call to expand rights to carry guns, concealed and otherwise, into more public places.

"Bars? You put a drunk and a gun together, it's pretty tough. Somebody is going to get killed. You put a gun on campus with hotheaded 20-year-olds. That's danger waiting to happen," Stoddard said "Use the same common sense with guns that you use in everything else in your life. Just don't go along with the crowd like sheep following to the slaughter, because that's what it could be."