Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., was one of nineteen people shot by a lone gunman at a "Congress on Your Corner" event in Tucson, Arizona Saturday. Giffords was shot in the head and is currently listed in critical condition at University of Arizona Hospital in Tucson.
Giffords, 40, was just reelected to her third term in the U.S. House in November. An alumnus of Cornell University and Scripps College, Giffords served as a member of the Arizona House of Representatives and state Senate before winning her seat in Congress.
She is the only member of Congress with a spouse on active duty in the military. Giffords married Navy Captain and astronaut Mark Kelly in 2007.
A member of the House Armed Services, Foreign Affairs, and Science Committees, Giffords has also been a strong proponent of alternative energy and border security issues.
Her district, Arizona 08, is in the southeastern corner of the states and covers just over 9,000 square miles. It shares a 114-mile border with Mexico.
Giffords has been to the right of many of her Democratic colleagues on the issue of border security, aggressively supporting legislation to increase the number of Border Patrol agents and National Guard troops at the border. Giffords hardened her stance on border security after alleged drug cartel members murdered Robert Krentz, a rancher in her district, on his property on March 27, 2010.
Unlike some Democrats, Giffords is also a strong supporter of gun owners' rights. She opposed the District of Columbia's ban on handguns, and filed a friend of the court briefing to the United States Supreme Court in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller in support of overturning the measure.
A link to her entire voting record, courtesy of Project Vote Smart, is here:
One of Gifford's last actions in Congress before returning to her district was to read the First Amendment to the Constitution on the House Floor Thursday. It reads, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
That's presumably what the residents of her district were doing Saturday morning in front of a Safeway supermarket moments before their lives were forever changed by the senseless acts of violence by a disturbed individual.