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

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.

SEE ALSO: This day in history: first presidential election in the United States

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:
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This day in history: Rep. Gabrielle Giffords shot in Arizona
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 06: Retired Congresswoman Gabby Giffords (L) and her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, both co-founders of Americans for Responsible Solutions, speak at New York Ideas, a conference that brings together leaders from a variety of industries on May 6, 2014 in New York City. New York Ideas is hosted by The Atlantic, The Aspen Institute and New-York Historical Society. (Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 18: Former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords throws out the first pitch at the Congressional Softball game with the help of Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL), who is pitching the ball, and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC Wednesday evening June 18, 2014. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 01: Former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ) attends a meeting with lawmakers May 1, 2014 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Giffords was on the Hill to discuss Congressional efforts to curb gun and domestic violence. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
EAST HAMPTON, NY - AUGUST 10: Gabrielle Giffords attends 9th Annual Authors Night at The East Hampton Library on August 10, 2013 in East Hampton, New York. (Photo by Scott Roth/WireImage)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 1: Former U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and her husband former astronaut Captain Mark Kelly kick off their Americans for Responsible Solutions tour in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Monday, July 1, 2013. The couple met with local business owners to discuss the issue of responsible gun legislation. (Photo by Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
ANCHORAGE, AK - JULY 2: Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband astronaut Captain Mark Kelly make a stop at Resolution Park in Anchorage, Alaska, during the Americans for Responsible Solutions tour on Tuesday, July 2, 2013. (Photo by Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
BISMARCK, ND - JULY 3: Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords chats with a supporter during a stop at Kroll's Diner, during the Americans for Responsible Solutions tour in Bismarck, North Dakota, on Wednesday, July 3, 2013. At left is staffer Hayley Zachary. (Photo by Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, NY - MAY 25: Captain Mark Kelly and Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords attend Bard College's 153rd Commencement at the Seth Goldfine Memorial Rugby Field at Bard College on May 25, 2013 in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York. (Photo by Steve Sands/Getty Images)
DORCHESTER, MA - MAY 5: JFK Presidential Library - Former Arizona Congresswoman and co-founder of Americans for Responsible Solutions Gabrielle Giffords was honored by Caroline Kennedy, President of the Kennedy Library Foundation, with the 2013 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award on May 5, 2013 at the JFK Presidential Library. Giffords was accompanied by her husband, Captain Mark Kelly (US Navy - Ret.), co-founder of Americans for Responsible Solutions. The JFK Profile in Courage Award is presented annually to public servants who have made courageous decisions of conscience without regard for the personal or professional consequences. (Photo by Dina Rudick/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama (C-back) and former lawmaker Gabrielle Giffords (L) listen as Mark Barden (R), father of a Newtown school shooting victim, speaks during a press conference at the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, on April 17, 2013. Obama on Wednesday slammed what he called a 'minority' in the US Senate for blocking legislation that would have expanded background checks on those seeking to buy guns. AFP PHOTO/Jewel Samad (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - APRIL 16: From left, Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, Rep. Ron Barber, D-Ariz., and former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., arrive for an event in the Capitol Visitor Center, to dedicate the Gabe Zimmerman Meeting Room who was killed in the 2011 Tucson shootings that also injured Barber and Giffords, who was Zimmerman's boss. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Former Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly attend a dedication ceremony naming a Capitol Visitor Center conference room in honor of slain Giffords' aide Gabe Zimmerman at the US Capitol in Washington on April 16, 2013. Zimmerman was killed in the January 2011 shooting that left 6 dead and Giffords severely wounded at an event in Tucson, Arizona. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
TUCSON, AZ - MARCH 06: Former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords attends a news conference outside Safeway grocery store where they asked Congress to provide stricter gun control in the United States on March 6, 2013 in Tucson, Arizona. Giffords and Kelly were joined by survivors of the Tucson shooting that took place there two years ago when six people were killed and Giffords herself was shot in the head. (Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)
TUCSON, AZ - MARCH 06: Mark Kelly leans his head on the shoulder of his wife and former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords as they attend a news conference asking Congress and the Senate to provide stricter gun control in the United States on March 6, 2013 in Tucson, Arizona. Giffords and Kelly were joined by survivors of the Tucson shooting as they spoke outside the Safeway grocery store where the shooting happened two years ago where six people were killed. (Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)
Former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, pauses while speaking during a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill January 30, 2013 in Washington, DC. The committee held the hearings to discuss possible solutions to gun violence in the United States. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 30: Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., center, is greeted by Senators as she arrives to testify the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on 'What Should America Do About Gun Violence?' on Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013. From left around Giffords are Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Al Franken, D-Minn. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 06: Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-NV) walks on stage with Democratic National Committee Chair, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) during the final day of the Democratic National Convention at Time Warner Cable Arena on September 6, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The DNC, which concludes today, nominated U.S. President Barack Obama as the Democratic presidential candidate. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords accept her award during the Intrepid Museum's 21st annual 'Salute to Freedom' dinner May 24, 2012 in New York. AFP PHOTO / DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/GettyImages)
ABC NEWS - In a broadcast exclusive, Diane Sawyer chronicles Congresswoman Gabrielle GiffordsÕ journey to recover from her near fatal injury, with her husband Mark Kelly by her side. The broadcast will also document the coupleÕs courtship, marriage, and extraordinary careers in public service. The Diane Sawyer special will air on MONDAY, NOV. 14 (10-11PM, ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Ida Mae Astute/ABC via Getty Images)GABRIELLE GIFFORDS

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.

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