Gabrielle Giffords was elected to Arizona's 8th Congressional District seat in 2006, after more than five years of service in the Arizona House of Representatives and State Senate. In Congress, she quickly became a leading policymaker on border security, energy independence, and support for military families and veterans. In 2010, she was the target of death threats and her office was vandalized following her vote in favor of health care reform.
On January 8, 2011, Giffords and eighteen others were shot during a constituent meeting she was holding in a supermarket parking lot in Casas Adobes, Arizona, in the Tucson metropolitan area. Six people died, including Arizona District Court Chief Judge John Roll; Gabe Zimmerman, one of Rep. Giffords' staffers; and a nine-year-old girl, Christina-Taylor Green. Giffords was holding the meeting, called "Congress on Your Corner" in the parking lot of a Safeway store when Jared Lee Loughner drew a pistol and shot her in the head at point-blank range before proceeding to fire on other people. After a year of rehabilitation, she resigned from Congress in order to focus on her recovery. On the second anniversary of the shooting, Giffords and her husband, retired Navy Captain and astronaut Mark Kelly, launched Americans for Responsible Solutions to encourage elected officials to support measures to prevent gun violence and promote responsible gun ownership.