Gabby Giffords maintains hope in gun safety battle
Former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords displayed her inextinguishable optimism in a New York Times interview published earlier this week about her continued fight for gun safety legislation.
Flashback: On Jan. 8, 2011, a gunman shot Giffords at point-blank range as she greeted constituents at a "Congress on your Corner" event at a Safeway outside Tucson.
- The gunman killed six people, including federal Judge John Roll, Giffords' aide Gabe Zimmerman and 9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green.
- The attacker injured 13 others, including Giffords, who remains partially paralyzed on her right side and struggles to speak because the bullet destroyed the part of her brain that controls language.
What she's saying: "Our lives can change so quickly. Mine did when I was shot. I've never given up hope. I chose to make a new start, to move ahead, to not look back," Giffords told the NYT.
State of play: The former congresswoman and her husband, U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly, founded the gun safety organization Giffords (originally called Americans for Responsible Solutions) in January 2013, following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
- The group has successfully pushed for "red flag laws," which keep potentially dangerous people from buying guns, in 19 states and Washington, D.C.
- It also backed Congress' passage of a package of guns safety measures last year and dozens of other gun control laws across the U.S.
Yes, but: There have been more than 3,800 gun-related deaths nationwide so far this year and 54 mass shootings — defined as four or more people shot in one incident, per the Gun Violence Archive.
- And in many states, including Arizona, there has been no significant change in gun laws since Giffords was shot.
The bottom line: Giffords told the Times that progress, in politics and her medical recovery, "happens inch by inch."
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