Shooting survivor Gabrielle Giffords said lawmakers should have "courage" for town halls
The former Arizona congresswoman who survived being shot in the head at a 2011 "Congress on your Corner" event said lawmakers should "have some courage" and face constituents at town hall meetings.
Gabrielle Giffords, who became a voice for stronger gun regulations after the notorious Tucson shooting, spoke up Thursday after Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert invoked her case as a reason to skip in-person town hall meetings.
In a letter to his constituents, Gohmert warned of "groups from the more violent strains of the leftist ideology, some even being paid, who are preying on public town halls to wreak havoc and threaten public safety."
"However, the House sergeant at arms advised us after former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot at a public appearance, that civilian attendees at congressional public events stand the most chance of being harmed or killed — just as happened there," the letter continued.
Gohmert's letter came as Republican lawmakers face frustrated and even hostile crowds at town hall-style meetings.
Giffords, who had to learn to talk and walk again after Jared Lee Loughner killed six and injured 13 in an attempt to assassinate her, wasn't having any excuses.
"I was shot on a Saturday morning. By Monday morning my offices were open to the public," Giffords said in a statement. "Ron Barber — at my side that Saturday, who was shot multiple times, then elected to Congress in my stead — held town halls. It's what the people deserve in a representative."
Giffords noted she's held over 50 public events campaigning for gun safety in the past year.
"To the politicians who have abandoned their civic obligations, I say this: Have some courage," she said. "Face your constituents. Hold town halls."
Giffords and her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, campaign for updated firearms regulations together under the banner of Americans for Responsible Solutions.