Gabby Giffords leaves door open to a return to public office

Gabrielle Giffords, who gave up her Arizona seat in Congress after she was critically shot in the head three years ago, said Thursday that she might consider a return to public office.

Giffords, whose recovery from the assassination attempt has riveted the nation, left the door open to a return to office in an interview with NBC’s “Today” show co-host Savannah Guthrie. Asked whether she would consider returning to public office, Giffords, 43, replied: “A little bit later, a little bit later,” adding, “maybe, maybe.”

Giffords’s remarks came as she commemorated the anniversary of the 2011 shooting in a parking lot outside a grocery store in Tucson. Six people were killed and 13 injured during the congresswoman’s meet-and-greet with constituents.

Giffords, who was barely alive after the shooting, began a long and slow recovery and rehabilitation process that captivated the nation with her efforts to regain speech and her life. She said in the interview that she's making slow progress and wants to work on her Spanish and resume playing the French horn.

To mark the anniversary, Giffords jumped in tandem from a twin-engine plane. She landed on a lawn, laughing and blowing kisses.

In an opinion piece for the New York Times on Wednesday, Giffords wrote about her struggles to recover, calling it "gritty, painful, frustrating work."

"I had planned to spend my 40s continuing my public service and starting a family," she wrote. "Instead, I've spent the past three years learning how to talk again, how to walk again."

Her assailant, Jared Lee Loughner, was sentenced in November 2012 to seven consecutive life sentences, plus 140 years, after he pleaded guilty to 19 federal charges in the shooting.

In recent months, Giffords has lobbied and raised funds to fight gun violence. She has called for expanded background checks for gun purchases.

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