Giffords' hero intern shares views on gun debate

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PHOENIX -- "They Call Me a Hero.” That’s the title of Daniel Hernandez’s new book. He’s the intern who helped save former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ life after the Tucson shooting in January 2011.

When Hernandez sat down with 3TV recently, he showed us a new side of himself. It's the side that has thrust him into the nation’s controversial gun debate.

For the first two years after the shooting, Hernandez says he wouldn’t talk much about gun laws and gun control. But he told 3TV's Fields Moseley that the school shooting in Newton, Conn. changed that.

“I stayed out of this issue; I didn't want to get involved with this," he said. "My priority is education. I'm a school board member, but as a school board member and young elected official, the incident in Newtown was really a wake-up call."

As a child growing up in Tucson, Hernandez said he often went hunting with his father and that his father still owns rifles. Hernandez believes that guns are a part of history and that they are part of the culture in the Southwest.

“I think to paint it as a black-and-white issue and to call it just gun control is a misnomer," he explained when asked about his opinion on gun control. "I think it’s more about gun safety and gun violence.”

Hernandez also believes that some reforms to America’s gun laws need to be re-assessed, or at least voted on by Congress.

When President Barack Obama delivered his State of the Union address recently, he addressed the need -- and his own desire -- to reform America’s gun laws, saying each one of many proposals on the table "deserves a vote in Congress."

“I think it's a great thing to say; we deserve a vote," Hernandez said. "The people that are survivors of Tucson, Aurora, Oak Creek, there are so many people that have been affected by gun violence in this country."