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Gabby Giffords Urges Congress to Take Immediate Action on Gun Violence After Mass Shootings

Former Democratic U.S. congresswoman and mass shooting survivor Gabrielle "Gabby" Giffords is pleading for lawmakers to take action on gun violence immediately following two mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton over the weekend that left at least 32 people dead and dozens of others wounded.

Giffords asks in a statement, "How many more lives will be lost?" as it's been more than 150 days since the U.S. House of Representatives passed a Bipartisan Background Checks Act.

"I have no more words. I only have anger. President Donald Trump and (Senate) Majority Leader Mitch McConnell must call the Senate back from August recess immediately," Giffords said Sunday. "We cannot afford to wait another day for lawmakers to address this horrific national public safety threat.

"In less than one minute, one man with a gun murdered 9 people and injured 26 others. This is not normal. The shootings that happened this weekend—the shootings that happen every single day in America—are not normal. No other country in the world comes close to experiencing the level of gun violence our families and communities suffer," she said.

Giffords, who served as Arizona's 8th District U.S. representative from 2007–2012, was one of 18 people wounded after during a parking lot shooting that killed six people in suburban Tuscon in 2011. Giffords' comments come after this weekend’s mass shootings, 13 hours apart, and a week after three people were killed and 12 more wounded during a shooting at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in Northern California. The California shooting came less than 24 hours after one man was killed and 11 others injured after two gunmen opened fire at a block party in Brooklyn.

On Monday, Trump condemned the "racist hate" emanating from the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton, citing mental health, the internet, and even video games as causes for the violence, without addressing his own rhetoric that many politicians and critics say may have sparked the shootings.

A gun-control proponent who is a frequent critic of America's firearm policies, Giffords and her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, became national proponents for more stricter gun laws after she was shot in the head by gunman Jared Lee Loughner outside a Safeway grocery store in Casas Adobes, Ariz., eight years ago. A bullet passed through the front of Giffords' head and exited through the back of her skull, doctors said told that mass shooting.

Giffords said Sunday that advocates of the firearms industry and the politicians paid to defend it, "the defenders of the status quo," she calls them, will say that acts of violence are beyond their control, "could not be further from the truth."

"Every day we fail to take action, we choose this fate," she said. "Every day, politicians fail to acknowledge and act upon this crisis, they allow the gun violence epidemic to continue."

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