Giffords shares emotional plea for gun control after Florida school shooting
© Greg Nash

Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) called on lawmakers to “find the courage” to pass legislation following a deadly school shooting at a Florida high school.

Giffords posted a series of tweets after the shooting, saying the accounts of the incident “strike fear into all Americans.”

“Even in our grief, we must summon the courage to fight against this fear,” Giffords said. “We must find the courage to imagine a country where these massacres do not occur. Our leaders must find the courage to escape the confines of their politics & pursue the moral necessity of peace & safety.”

The former Arizona congresswoman slammed “advocates of the gun industry & the politicians paid to defend it,” saying those groups label school shootings as “virtual acts of nature, products of mental illness or bad parenting” that cannot be controlled.

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“This couldn't be further from the truth,” she said. “Every day we fail to take action, we chose this fate. We tolerate politicians who fail to acknowledge this crisis and vote against our safety. We let our gun violence epidemic continue day after deadly day.” 

Giffords ended her series of tweets by calling on Congress to pass laws to “protect our children” and to “stop dangerous people from accessing guns.”

“And if Congress won't act, American voters must,” she said.

Giffords was shot in the head on Jan. 8, 2011, by a gunman who killed six people and wounded 18 others in an attack at a "meet and greet" for the congresswoman in a supermarket parking lot.

She has since become a strong advocate for anti-gun violence causes and co-founded the anti-gun violence nonprofit Americans for Responsible Solutions along with her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly. 

Her remarks came after a shooting occurred Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

At least 17 people were killed in the shooting, according to local law enforcement officials. The suspected shooter, a former student at the school, was taken into custody.