Giffords to Mark 3rd Shooting Anniversary with Skydive

Maybe she got the idea from the movie Bucket List? Former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords (D) will skydive Wednesday to mark the third anniversary of the mass Tuscon shooting on Jan. 8, 2011. At the infamous tragedy three years ago, six people died, and 11 others were injured when gunman Jared Loughner opened fire. Giffords, who was attending the campaign event, was shot in the head and severely injured. Though Gifford still struggles to speak and walk, she's regained her abilities to do both and has founded a lobbying group, Americans for Responsible Solutions. The group is pro-gun ownership but anti-gun violence, and has aggressively lobbied for gun control reform.

The skydive will be taped by Today to air on Thursday. Giffords will be joined by the show's co-host Savannah Guthrie in the plane.

"Today, Gabby Giffords is going to do something that is incredibly courageous and inspiring and a little bit surprising - she's going to sky-dive here in Arizona to commemorate the three-year anniversary and all of the progress that she's made," Guthrie said Wednesday morning. "She is an incredibly brave person. She's someone who used to love to sky-dive before this shooting took place. She hasn't done it since."

Giffords skydived once before, in 2009.

The former congresswoman also took to the New York Times this morning in an op-ed piece about gun control, through the lens of her organization, and her recovery, in which she describes both processes as slow and step-by-step.

Instead, I’ve spent the past three years learning how to talk again, how to walk again. I had to learn to sign my name with my left hand. It’s gritty, painful, frustrating work, every day. Rehab is endlessly repetitive. And it’s never easy, because once you’ve mastered some movement or action or word, no matter how small, you move on to the next. You never rest ...

Our fight is a lot more like my rehab. Every day, we must wake up resolved and determined. We’ll pay attention to the details; look for opportunities for progress, even when the pace is slow...

Her organization, Americans for Responsible Solutions, is meant to rival the organizations with the big guns, such as the NRA and other pro-firearm groups. The group hasn't been successful at the state or federal levels so far, but Gifford and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, are optimistic. They describe themselves as "proud gun owners," and say they have confidence the group's impact will be seen in the next round of elections — presumably mid-terms this year.

Predictably, Washington disappointed us during the first year of our work with the organization we began, Americans for Responsible Solutions. Many of you were outraged at the failure of the Senate to pass the background checks bill, and so was I ...

We’re not daunted. We know that the gun lobby, which makes money by preventing sensible change, relies on dramatic disappointments to wound us, reduce our power, push us back on our heels ...

We can get tough and win elections ... I know that after the next elections, candidates won’t wonder if common-sense gun policies can win elections; trust me, like Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe of Virginia, they’ll know that the answer is yes.

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