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Giffords: 'Know this horror & heartbreak too well'

More by Dylan Smith

Gabrielle Giffords, a prominent backer of firearms control measures who is herself a survivor of gun violence, challenged her former congressional colleagues to take action in the wake of the massacre in Las Vegas late Sunday night.

Giffords, who was shot in the head and survived an assassination attempt on Jan. 8, 2011, said Monday morning that "I know this feeling of heartbreak and horror too well."

Authorities reported that at least 58 people were killed by a gunman firing rapidly into the audience at a country music concert from a floor high up in a Las Vegas hotel on Sunday. Hundreds more were injured. The gunman was found dead in his room by police, officials said.

The ex-congresswoman, who was among 18 who were shot by a gunman at a Tucson-area grocery store during a constituent meet-and-greet event. Six people died in that attack.

Giffords, who founded the lobbying organization Americans for Responsible Solutions with her husband, ex-astronaut Mark Kelly, after she resigned from Congress, said she was praying that lawmakers "find the courage it will take to make progress on the challenging issue of gun violence."

Her full statement:

I know this feeling of heartbreak and horror too well. The massacre in Las Vegas is a grave tragedy for our nation. This must stop - we must stop this.

I am praying for the victims of this shooting, their families and friends. And I am so grateful for the heroism and professionalism of the first responders who acted so courageously to bring this horror to an end. I send the injured all my strength: you have a long road ahead. Be strong. You can do it. My heart is with the city of Las Vegas and all who were touched by this tragedy.

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But I am praying for my former colleagues, our elected leaders, too. I am praying they find the courage it will take to make progress on the challenging issue of gun violence. I know they got into politics for the same reason I did - to make a difference, to get things done. Now is the time to take positive action to keep America safer. Do not wait. The nation is counting on you.

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