POTOMAC FALLS, VA (WUSA9) - She nearly died from an assassin's bullet, but Congresswoman Gabby Giffords is now healthy enough to help lead a national campaign to rein in gun violence.
She's in Northern Virginia and DC, pushing for Hillary Clinton and what she calls sensible gun reform.
“Hello, hello, hello,” she said with a big smile almost six years after a gunman shot her in the head, Her ebullient voice brightens the fall sunshine at a Loudoun County library. How is she feeling? “Really good!” she said with a laugh.
Giffords is on a 14 state, 42 day national bus tour urging voters to support politicians who've endorsed gun control and gun violence prevention.
“We must never stop fighting! Fight! Fight! Fight!” she roared to a cheering crowd packed into a conference room.
Donald Trump countered at the third debate that gun rights are under siege in the US.
“I am a very strong supporter of the Second Amendment,” he said. “I'm proud to have the endorsement of the NRA.”
His supporters have protested outside Democratic campaign offices in Virginia, saying they're defending their rights to open carry.
“The only threat is ignorance. And ignorance will breed fear,” Daniel Parks said last week in Fluvanna County.
But Giffords says the vast majority of Americans support sensible gun reform.
“Be bold, be courageous. The nation is counting on you,” she told a supportive crowd.
Giffords opposed handgun restrictions when she was in Congress. She and her husband own guns. But since the shooting and her long recovery She's become one of the most potent activists for reform.
“Be responsible,” she said. “Democrats and Republicans. Everyone.”
Giffords rarely does one on one interviews anymore. During the third and final debate between Trump and Clinton she tweeted, “Speaking is difficult for me. But come January, I want to say these two words: Madam President.”
GOP released the following statement on Thursday:
“Virginians know all too well that our system isn’t perfect. That’s why Republicans and Democrats came together after tragedy and unanimously voted to close loopholes that let dangerous people slip through the cracks. It’s unfortunate that Democrats like Hillary Clinton, Tim Kaine, and LuAnn Bennett continue to advocate for policy changes that won’t make anyone safer simply for their electoral benefit.”