ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. (AP) – Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords urged a group of newly minted college graduates on Saturday to change the world _ starting tomorrow.
The former Arizona congresswoman and her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, addressed graduates at Bard College.
Giffords was among 13 people wounded in a January 2011 shooting outside a Tucson, Ariz., supermarket that left six others dead. The Democrat resigned from Congress a year later.
Kelly spoke first, with Giffords offering a brief address and receiving and an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters.
Giffords told the more than 600 graduates at Bard that their “future shines bright.”
“Starting tomorrow you can change the world,” Giffords said. “The nation’s counting on you to create, to lead, to innovate _ but today we are celebrating you. Be bold, be courageous, be your best.”
As he introduced his wife, Kelly told the graduates Giffords is still making progress in her recovery from the 2011 shooting.
“I know that someday soon, Gabby will be giving these speeches in their entirety,” he said.
Kelly spoke about the couple’s new political action committee, Americans for Responsible Gun Control, that seeks to limit the size of ammunition magazines and expand background checks for gun purchases.
Kelly said the organization is focused on keeping communities safer while protecting the Second Amendment.
He said since the shooting at Sandy Hook elementary last December, Giffords has been more involved in the movement for sensible gun control.
“Gabby’s challenge now is to lead us forward and to bring more and more people with her,” Kelly said.
“We are the counterbalance to the professional gun lobby _ a truly citizen-based, people-driven movement to reclaim this debate and find, in the great tradition of our democracy, moderate, pragmatic solutions that respect our American values of the right to bear arms and the right to safety.”
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