This day in history: Rep. Gabrielle Giffords shot in Arizona

Gabrielle Giffords Honored With JFK Profile In Courage Award
Gabrielle Giffords Honored With JFK Profile In Courage Award

On January 8, 2011, a gunman entered a constituents' meeting being held by U.S. congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords outside of Tucson, Ariz. The 22-year-old gunman, Jared Lee Loughner, killed 6 people during the attack including federal judge John Roll and 9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green. 13 people were injured during the rampage including congresswoman Giffords who was shot in the head at point-blank range.

The popular congresswoman was only the third woman from Arizona ever elected to Congress and her focus on health care reform and illegal immigration drew criticism from conservatives.

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Although Giffords survived the assassination attempt, she was left her with a severe brain injury. The congresswoman spent months in rehabilitation relearning how to walk and talk. In May of 2011, Giffords traveled to the Kennedy Space Center to support her husband astronaut Mark Kelly in the launching of the final flight of space shuttle Endeavour.

Kelly has since become one of her strongest allies in her efforts to prevent gun violence.

See Gabrielle Giffords through the years:

In January 2012, Giffords resigned from Congress in order to concentrate on her recovery. The same year, gunman Jared Lee Loughner was sentenced to life in prison without parole after pleading guilty to 19 of the crimes he was charged with.

According to FBI data, there have been more than 200 mass killings in the United States in the past decade. Since the attack, Giffords has been a supporter and advocate for stronger gun control.

On January 5, 2016 President Obama announced plans including to end the including increasing the number of background checks on gun buyers. Giffords had a front row seat at President Barack Obama's announcement where she received a standing ovation from the crowd.

See more on Gabrielle Giffords:

How Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords Survived the Shooting
How Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords Survived the Shooting

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