Gabby Giffords Speaks Out in Wake of Texas Shooting: 'Gun Violence is a Uniquely American Problem'

Since being shot in the head and nearly killed in 2011, Giffords has become a leading voice on gun violence prevention

Gabby Giffords
Gabby Giffords. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Former Rep. Gabby Giffords — who was shot in the head and nearly killed in 2011 — says she is "devastated" in the wake of Tuesday's mass school shooting in Texas, in which 19 children and two adults have been confirmed dead.

"I'm devastated that more precious children have lost their lives after the horrific school shooting in Uvalde, TX today," Giffords, 51, wrote on Twitter Tuesday night. "How many more children will be killed by guns? How many young lives cut short, families shattered, communities traumatized because our leaders refuse to act?"

Her statement continued: "Gun violence is a uniquely American problem—and it is now the leading cause of death for American children. I won't rest until children can go to school without fearing for their lives. Our elected leaders must have the same resolve. Enough is enough."

In total, 13 people were injured in the Tucson mass shooting in which Giffords was injured.

Giffords went through an extensive recovery process following the 2011 shooting. She returned to the House floor seven months later, in August 2011, and received a standing ovation from her colleagues.

She retired from Congress in 2012 to focus on her recovery, and has since become a leading voice on gun violence prevention, often speaking up in the wake of mass shootings.

Her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, was himself elected to Congress in November 2020.

Kelly also wrote of the Texas shooting in his own statement posted to Twitter.

"I know how helpless a person can feel when their family is impacted in this way," Kelly wrote. "I know that every parent whose kid came home from school today is hugging them tighter."

Authorities have said the shooter in Tuesday's attack shot his grandmother, who has so far survived her injuries, before driving to the school and crashing his car in a nearby ditch.

He was engaged by law enforcement outside the school around 11:30 a.m., but was able to enter the building. All the fatalities took place inside one classroom, authorities said.

It is believed that the suspect — who is now confirmed dead — was killed by police. A motive for the murders, if known, has not been released.

Hours after the massacre, President Joe Biden addressed the nation in a nearly eight-minute speech, saying: "I had hoped when I became president I would not have to do this again, another massacre in Uvalde, Texas. An elementary school. Beautiful, innocent second, third, and fourth graders. How many scores of little children who witnessed what happened, see their friends die, as if they're in a battlefield for God's sake."

Continued Biden: "Parents who will never see their child again. Never have them jump in bed and cuddle with them. Parents who will never be the same. To lose a child is like having a piece of your soul ripped away. There's a hollowness in your chest; you feel like you're being sucked into it and never going to be able to get out, suffocating. It is never quite the same. It's a feeling shared by the siblings, the grandparents, the family members, the community that's left behind."

The school district in Uvalde has opened an official account with First State Bank of Uvalde to support Robb Elementary families affected by the tragedy. People can send checks through the mail (payable to the "Robb School Memorial Fund") or donate money through Zelle to People can also donate by calling 830-356-2273.

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