Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle "Gabby" Giffords, who was critically injured in a shooting two years ago, on Friday was named this year's recipient of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage award for her work to reduce gun violence.
Giffords, a Democrat from Arizona, has been undergoing rehabilitation after being shot in the head during a public appearance in Tuscon on Jan. 8, 2011. Six people died, including District Judge John Roll; Gabe Zimmerman, one of Giffords' staffers; and the 9-year-old granddaughter of former Philadelphia Phillies manager and Chicago Cubs general manager Dallas Green.
“Gabby Giffords has inspired the world with her bravery and her dedication to making change through the political process,” Caroline Kennedy said in a statement. “Instead of retreating following the tragic shooting that ended her Congressional career, she has recommitted herself to fighting for a more peaceful society free from hate and violence.”
Giffords and her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, have become vocal supporters of universal background checks on gun purchases. They formed the group Americans for Responsible Solutions to encourage elected officials to support measures that would prevent gun violence. The two have made a number of recent high-profile visits to various states in support of gun control legislation.