Gabby Giffords Turns Her Tragedy Into an Action Plan

Gabby Giffords Turns Her Tragedy Into an Action Plan

gabrielle giffords
(Image credit: Peter Hapak)

Who: Gabrielle Giffords, Cofounder, Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS)

Driving Force: Even more than her own experience of being shot in Arizona in 2011, stories like that of Sarah Engle—whose ex-boyfriend raped, shot, and left her for dead (he also killed her mom) in 2008, using a gun he'd obtained despite a restraining order Engle had against him—motivate Gabrielle Giffords, 44, to work to rein in gun violence, which kills 32 Americans every day.

Credo: "The question for Gabby is always: How do you take something bad and turn it into a positive?" says her husband, Mark Kelly. "And for her, the answer is always: Press ahead." Which is why she, along with Kelly, launched ARS in 2013 to advocate for gun laws that even gun owners—like them—could support.

The Big Picture: They've recently committed to protecting women, who are eight times more likely to die as a result of domestic violence if a gun is in the home. With the Engles in mind, Giffords is pushing for legislation to prevent people with violent histories, including those with a history of domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault, from obtaining guns. "Dangerous people with guns are a danger to women—for moms, for families, for me and you," she says. "Please join your voice with mine."

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Related: 19 Other Women Who Are Changing the World

Photo via Peter Hapak