Former U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords received the 2013 Profile in Courage award at the John F. Kennedy Library on May 5, 2013. She was recognized for the courage she has shown through her public advocacy for policy reforms aimed at reducing gun violence.
She formed Americans for Responsible Gun Ownership with her husband Mark Kelly, who is a former astronaut. The organization “supports the right to bear arms and responsible public policy on guns and gun ownership.” She and her husband have been lobbying for more gun control legislation.
Giffords was shot in the head in a 2011 shooting when a gunman opened fire as she met with her constituents in a mall in Tucson, Arizona. Six people were killed and a dozen were wounded. The shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison. Giffords resigned from Congress a year after the shooting to focus on her recovery.
Caroline Kennedy, President of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation presented the award to Giffords. When she presented the award, Kennedy recognized the first responders and the citizens of Boston. Speaking about the Boston Marathon bombing, the Boston Herald quoted her, “All Americans have been inspired by the countless acts of selfless bravery and compassion we saw during the violence that struck this city on Patriots Day.”
Kennedy said about Gifford’s courage, “Our family is still suffering from the heartbreak caused by gun violence. No one should have to lose a husband, a wife, a child, to senseless murder.” She added, “But as our nominee has shown, out of that pain and tragedy, we must find the strength to carry on, to give meaning to our lives, and to build a more just and peaceful world.”
Earlier on Sunday, Kennedy and Giffords visited victims of the Boston Marathon bombings at Spaulding Rehabilitation Center in Boston.
Giffords mentioned in passing her disappointment in Congress’s failure to pass gun control legislation last week. She said, “I believe we all have courage inside. I just wish there was more courage in Congress.” Giffords added, “It’s been a hard two years for me, but I want to make the world a better place more than ever.” The U.S. Senate voted against a measure to expand background checks on all gun owners. The majority of Americans supported the measure.
Kelly also praised his wife saying, “There are people who make things happen. There are people who just watch things happen. And there are people who wonder what just happened. Gabby Giffords is a person who makes things happen.”