Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona, singled out for honors
at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum in Dorchester yesterday,
called on Congress to show more courage on gun control.
"We all have courage inside," Giffords, gravely injured by gunfire in 2011, said yesterday at the library as she accepted this year's Profile in Courage Award. "I wish there was more courage in Congress. Sometimes, it's hard to express it. I know. It's been a hard two years for me, but I want to make the world a better place more than ever."
Her comments came weeks after the U.S. Senate voted down a measure to expand background checks for gun buyers.
Giffords, a Democrat, was shot in the head by gunman Jared Lee Loughner, who opened fire during one of her January 2011 constituent meetings.
Six people died, and 12 others were injured. Loughner is now serving seven consecutive life sentences.
Giffords resigned from her congressional seat to boost her recovery efforts. In January, Giffords and her husband, retired Navy captain and astronaut Mark Kelly, launched their lobbying group Americans for Responsible Solutions, aimed at curbing gun violence and diminishing the gun lobby's political heft.
Guests at yesterday's awards ceremony included House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and former U.S. Sen. Christopher Dodd.
Nationally recognized mediator Kenneth Feinberg, who was just appointed by the state to administer the victim assistance fund for people injured in the Boston Marathon bombings, commended the couple's work, as did library foundation President Caroline Kennedy, who recalled her own family's painful experiences with gun violence.
"Our family is still suffering the heartbreak caused by gun violence," said Kennedy, whose father was murdered by a gunman in November 1963.
Singer Tony Bennett and talk show host David Letterman attended a gala dinner in Giffords' honor at the library.
"We're starting a tremendous campaign against automatic weapons," Bennett said about his Voices against Violence campaign.
Letterman is using his talk show to highlight the politicians who voted down a measure to expand background checks for gun buyers.
"Every night, we're highlighting the people who voted no against the background checks," he said.
(c)2013 the Boston Herald
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Distributed by MCT Information Services
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