Former Rep. Gabby Giffords, who was nearly killed by a gunman during a 2011 shooting that claimed six lives, said in a statement Wednesday that she is "heartbroken" about thethat injured one congressman and several others who were present.
"It doesn't matter if you're a Democrat or a Republican, nor if you're a senator or a representative, nor a staffer or a sworn officer," Giffords said. "If you serve the institution of Congress, you're connected to your colleagues, current and former, by a shared sense of service to ideals far greater than yourself. This shooting is an attack on all who serve and on all who participate in our democracy."
The shooting in Alexandria, Virginia was, 66, who died of his injuries after being shot by Capitol Police. Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-Louisiana, the third-ranking House Republican, was injured, as were a congressional staffer, a lobbyist, and two police officers. The hospital where Scalise is being treated .
"I am heartbroken for the pain of Congressman Scalise, the other victims, and their family, friends, and colleagues who survived," Giffords continued in her statement. "I am thankful for the great courage of the Capitol Police, who were my protectors after I was shot and became my friends. I also know the courage it takes to recover from a shooting like this, and I know Steve and everyone there this morning have such courage in great supply."
Giffords nearly died after being shot in the head on January 8, 2011 during a public event in the parking lot of a Safeway outside of Tucson. In the wake of that incident, she and her husband, former astronaut Mike Kelly, founded "Americans for Responsible Solutions," a group dedicated to reforming gun laws and reducing violence.
Kelly spoke with Face the Nation on April 14, 2013, several months after a massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut claimed 26 lives, including 20 small children. At the time, a push was underway in the Senate to pass a bill that would strengthen background checks for gun purchasers, among other reforms. The bill ultimately failed to clear the Senate, but while it was still under consideration, Kelly explained why he believed the effort was so important.
"Right now, 40 percent of guns are bought at gun shows or…over the internet without a background check," Kelly explained. "So it's very easy for the criminals, the dangerously mentally ill to get a gun. So closing those loopholes I think is the number one thing we can do to reduce gun violence in this country."
Kelly compared the push to strengthen gun laws to past reforms that have improved the health and safety of Americans.
"In the 1970s, you know, we had the Clean Air Act that addressed pollution," he recalled. "We didn't get rid of all pollution in our country, but it did make our water cleaner and our air cleaner. And gun violence legislation can do the same thing. We're not going to stop every murder from a gun. We're not going to stop every mass shooting, but we can reduce gun violence with commonsense legislation."
CBS News' Bob Schieffer also asked Kelly about how his wife was doing.
"Gabby's doing great," he replied. "You know, she works really, really hard at her rehab. She does physical rehab, occupational, speech therapy. She's now reenergized by, you know, being involved in something that's going to improve people's lives. So she's doing great."