Giffords meets with Sandy Hook families

By John Christoffersen

Associated Press

Published: Friday, Jan. 4 2013 11:32 p.m. MST

Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, center, holds hands with her husband, Mark Kelly, while exiting Town Hall at Fairfield Hills Campus in Newtown, Conn. after meeting with Newtown First Selectman Pat Llodra and other officials on Friday, Jan. 4, 2013. At far left is Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman; behind Giffords to the left is U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal. Giffords also met with families of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre that left 26 people dead. (AP Photo/The News-Times, Jason Rearick) MANDATORY CREDIT

Associated Press

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NEWTOWN, Conn. — Nearly two years after being critically wounded in a mass shooting, former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords on Friday met with families of victims in last month's shooting that left 26 people dead inside a Connecticut elementary school.

Giffords was accompanied by her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, at the private meeting in Newtown that was also attended by U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal.

"As always, I was deeply impressed by the strength and courage and resolve of the families and the extraordinary caring and generosity of Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly in visiting with them," Blumenthal said.

Giffords was left partially blind, with a paralyzed right arm and brain injury, when a gunman opened fire at a constituent meet-and-greet outside a Tucson grocery store on Jan. 8, 2011. Arizona's chief federal judge and five others were killed and 13 people, including Giffords, were injured.

The gunman, Jared Lee Loughner, pleaded guilty to 19 federal charges and was sentenced to seven consecutive life sentences, plus 140 years.

Kelly said on the day of the Newtown shooting that it should lead to better gun control.

Giffords' visit came one day after Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced the creation of an advisory commission that will review and recommend changes to state laws and policies on issues including gun control in the wake of the Dec. 14 rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

The gunman, Adam Lanza, shot and killed his mother, then drove to the school and slaughtered 20 first-graders and six educators before committing suicide as police arrived.

Giffords has appeared in public a few times since the shooting. She came face-to-face with Loughner when he was sentenced in November and attended ceremonies for the anniversary of the shooting.

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