Gabrielle Giffords returns to Tucson shooting scene, seeking support for universal background checks

Kelly 1Flowers remain Wednesday at the memorial to the victims of the 2011 mass shooting that killed six people and wounded 14 others, including former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Photographs by Tom Kelly III, used with permission by the GunCrisis Reporting Project.

Kelly 2LEarlier Thursday, Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly came to the scene to urge lawmakers and voters to support a bill in Congress requiring universal background checks for all gun purchases.

According to Reuters, it was Giffords’ first public appearance at the suburban Safeway grocery store where college dropout Jared Loughner opened fire at her congressional outreach meeting on January 8, 2011.

Kelly said that if the loophole been closed, Loughner would not have been able to legally purchase the gun he used to shoot Giffords and the other victims two years ago, according to the Arizona Daily Star. Other survivors held similar news conferences Tuesday.

Giffords, who is still recovering from her injuries, spoke fewer than 20 words, according to the Associated Press.

“Be bold. Be courageous,” Giffords said. “Please support background checks.”

Gifford and Kelly formed Americans for Responsible Solutions after the Sandy Hook shootings, urging a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and seeking to raise $20 million for the 2014 congressional elections, matching the National Rifle Association’s spending in last November’s election.

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