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Updated Apr 10, 2013 - 8:25 pm

Giffords focuses on getting strong, helping world

TUCSON, Ariz. — More than two years after being seriously wounded in a Tucson shooting rampage during a meet-and-greet with her constituents, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords said she isn’t resentful about what happened to her.

Instead, Giffords said, she is focused on getting “stronger, better, tougher” and trying to “make the world a better place.”

Giffords and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, were interviewed by CNN at their Tucson home in a segment that aired Wednesday evening.

Six people died and 13 people were wounded, including Giffords, when a gunman opened fire outside a Tucson supermarket on Jan. 8, 2011.

The 42-year-old Arizona Democrat was shot once in the head. She resigned from Congress last year.

Kelly said his wife still is struggling with speech and vision problems.

Giffords is half blind in both eyes as she “can’t see anything to the right,” Kelly said.

Her right leg and right arm are partially paralyzed from the shooting, and Giffords continues to undergo therapy for the injuries.

Jared Loughner was sentenced in November to seven consecutive life sentences, plus 140 years, after he pleaded guilty to 19 federal charges in the Tucson shooting.

Loughner, 24, is serving his sentence at a federal prison medical facility in Springfield, Mo., where he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and forcibly given psychotropic drug treatments to make him fit for trial.

“So sad. Mentally ill,” Giffords said about Loughner, adding that she stared him down in a Tucson courtroom at that November sentencing and remembers his “beady eyes.”

Kelly and Giffords have formed a political action committee in hopes of preventing gun violence and changing laws to require compulsory background checks for gun buyers. The PAC also will work to limit the size of ammo magazines and to ban the sale of assault weapons to civilians.

The couple believe they have credibility in the gun control debate because they are longtime gun owners who support Second Amendment rights.

“I want to make the world a better place,” Giffords said.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.


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