President Obama met Thursday with former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) on the fourth anniversary of the mass shooting at a constituent event that nearly took her life. 

The president met with Giffords and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, shortly before speaking at an event on homeownership in Phoenix.


“This was a remarkable meeting for me because it was four years ago today that Gabby and some other wonderful Arizonans were gunned down outside a supermarket in Tucson,” Obama said. “It’s a tough day for a lot of folks down there.” 

Six people were killed and 13 others, including Giffords and now-former Rep. Ron Barber (D-Ariz.), were wounded in the attack at a Tucson-area supermarket. The congresswoman, who was shot in the head, has worked through a painstaking rehabilitation process involving multiple surgeries, and still suffers from effects of the shooting.

But Obama reported that Giffords was “doing great.”

“She looks wonderful and has the same energy and passion that she’s always had.”

Since the shooting, Giffords and Kelly have been vocal proponents for additional gun controls, including limits on the sale of high-capacity magazines and assault weapons. Obama called that effort heroic in remarks to a local high school.

“Even as she waged her own fight to recover, she’s fought to prevent the next tragedies from happening to others — she is a hero and she is a great Arizonan,” Obama said. “Really in proud of her.”

Gifford lobbied on behalf of the president’s gun control package, which would have expanded background checks on arms purchases but did not include an assault weapons ban or limits on magazine clips, following the 2012 shooting at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school.

That effort failed when supporters were unable to overcome a filibuster threat from Republicans and some centrist Democrats. Obama later invoked Giffords when denouncing the congressional inaction.

"When I said in my State of the Union Address that these proposals deserve a vote — that the families of Newtown, and Aurora, and Tucson, and their former colleague in that chamber, Gabby Giffords, all deserve a vote — virtually every member in that chamber stood up and applauded," Obama said. "Now they’re going to deny those families — your families — a vote when the cameras are off and they think no one’s looking? You deserve better. You deserve a vote."