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Gabrielle Giffords Fast Facts

CNN Editorial Research

Here’s a look at the life of former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords who was seriously wounded in a mass shooting in 2011.


Birth date: June 8, 1970

Birth place: Tucson, Arizona

Birth name: Gabrielle Dee Giffords

Father: Spencer Giffords, El Campo Tire executive and a district school board member

Mother: Gloria Kay (Fraser) Giffords, an author and art conservator

Marriage: Mark Edward Kelly (November 10, 2007-present)

Children: Claudia and Claire (stepdaughters)

Education: Scripps College, B.A., 1993; Cornell University, Masters in Regional Planning, 1996

Religion: Jewish

Other Facts

Her husband, Mark Kelly, is a US Democratic Senator from Arizona and retired NASA astronaut. He was the commander of the final flight of the Space Shuttle Endeavour.

Studied abroad in Chihuahua, Mexico, on a Fulbright Scholarship.

Was the youngest woman elected to the Arizona State Senate, at the time.

Third woman from Arizona to serve in the US House of Representatives.

First Jewish congresswoman from Arizona.


2000 – Sells her family’s tire business, El Campo Tire Warehouses, to Goodyear Tire.

2000Is elected to the Arizona House of Representatives.

2002 Is elected to the Arizona State Senate.

2004 – Wins reelection to the Arizona Senate.

December 2005 – Resigns from office to run for the US House of Representatives.

November 7, 2006 – Is elected to the US House of Representatives with 54% of the vote.

2007-January 25, 2012 – Democratic US Representative from Arizona’s 8th District.

2008 – Is elected for a second term in the US House of Representatives with 55% of the vote.

2010 – Is elected for a third term in the US House of Representatives in a close race, by about 4,000 votes.

January 8, 2011 – Giffords is shot in the head, one of 13 wounded by Jared Lee Loughner at a “Congress on Your Corner” event at a Tucson grocery store. Six people are killed during the shooting rampage. Authorities say Giffords was the main target.

January 16, 2011 Her medical condition is changed from critical to serious following the removal of a breathing tube. A tracheotomy tube is put in its place.

January 21, 2011 – Is moved from University Medical Center in Tucson to Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center in Houston, Texas.

January 26, 2011 – Is transferred to the nearby Texas Institute for Rehabilitation and Research Memorial Hermann (TIRR Memorial Hermann), the day after doctors upgrade her condition from serious to good.

April 25, 2011 – Doctors announce that Giffords has recovered enough to travel to Florida to attend the final lift-off on April 29 of the Space Shuttle Endeavour, of which her husband, Capt. Kelly, is the commander. She is able to use her left side, has limited use of her right arm and leg, and has begun walking a little.

May 16, 2011 – Giffords attends the rescheduled launch of Space Shuttle Endeavour at the Kennedy Space Center.

June 15, 2011 – Is discharged from Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center.

August 1, 2011 – Returns to the floor of the House of Representatives to vote in support of a plan to raise the US debt ceiling.

November 14, 2011 – Appears on ABC News in her first television interview since the shooting.

November 15, 2011 – A memoir written by Giffords and Kelly, “Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope,” is published. In the audio book version, Rep. Giffords reads aloud the final chapter.

January 8, 2012 – Giffords attends a vigil in Tucson, Arizona, marking the one-year anniversary of the shooting. She leads the crowd of thousands in the Pledge of Allegiance and later lights a memorial candle for the six people killed.

January 22, 2012 – Announces via her website, she will resign from the US House of Representatives to concentrate on her health and recuperation.

January 25, 2012 – Officially resigns from the US House of Representatives.

February 10, 2012 – Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announces that the next Independence variant littoral combat ship (LCS) will be named USS Gabrielle Giffords.

February 10, 2012 – Giffords’ final piece of legislation, the Ultralight Aircraft Smuggling Prevention Act of 2012, is signed into law by President Barack Obama.

February 21, 2012 Named to the National Board of Advisors for the National Institute for Civil Discourse at the University of Arizona.

June 9, 2012 – Giffords appears at a get-out-the-vote rally at the Rialto Theater in Tucson, Arizona, to campaign for Ron Barber, her former aide who is running for her congressional seat.

November 8, 2012 – Along with Kelly, attends the sentencing hearing for Loughner, the man who shot her. Kelly testifies on Giffords’ behalf, “Mr. Loughner, you may have put a bullet through her head but you have not put a dent in her spirit and her ability to do good.”

January 8, 2013 – Giffords and her husband launch the website, Americans for Responsible Solutions, which addresses gun violence prevention and gun owner responsibility.

January 30, 2013 – Giffords and Kelly appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee to make a statement about gun violence in the United States.

March 16, 2016 – The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, founded in 1993 after an assault weapons massacre in San Francisco, becomes part of the organization Americans for Responsible Solutions, created by Giffords and Kelly.

May 2017 – Giffords and her husband’s book “Enough: Our Fight to Keep America Safe from Gun Violence” is published.

June 10, 2017 – The Navy’s newest combat ship, USS Gabrielle Giffords is commissioned into service at the Port of Galveston, Texas. Giffords becomes the first living woman to have a Navy warship bear her name since the Lady Washington was named after Martha Washington in 1776; and Giffords is only the third living woman in US history to see her name on a naval vessel.

October 2017 – Americans for Responsible Solutions, the website launched by Giffords and her husband in 2013, is renamed “Giffords.”

January 8, 2019 – On the eighth anniversary of the day she was shot, Giffords returns to Capitol Hill to help House Democrats introduce a bill requiring background checks on private transactions related to gun sales.

August 19, 2020 – Giffords delivers a speech on the third night of the Democratic National Convention. Her remarks are the longest she has given since surviving the shooting, her spokesman Jason Phelps tells CNN.

July 7, 2022 – Is awarded the presidential Medal of Freedom by US President Joe Biden.

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