Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), who was shot in the head at a constituent event in 2011, on Thursday told Republicans who are contemplating skipping town halls because of intense protests to "have some courage."
Giffords' statement came in response to a letter Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) sent to his constituents that invoked Giffords' shooting as a reason not to hold his own town hall.
To the politicians who have abandoned their civic obligations, I say this: Have some courage. Face your constituents. Hold town halls.— Gabrielle Giffords (@GabbyGiffords) February 23, 2017
Giffords, who co-founded the gun violence-prevention organization Americans for Responsible Solutions, said town halls and constituent events were a "hallmark" of her time in office.
"I was shot on a Saturday morning," she said in her statement. "By Monday morning my offices were open to the public."
In his letter, Gohmert said that the constituents themselves stand the greatest chance of being harmed at rowdy town halls.
"The House Sergeant at Arms advised us after former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot at a public appearance that civilian attendees at Congressional public events stand the most chance of being harmed or killed, just as happened there," Gohmert said in his letter.
He said he would instead be holding a telephone town hall.
This week, Republicans across the country have faced crowds of angry voters protesting GOP policies at their town hall events.
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) applauded Giffords' statement.
Giffords was shot at a "Congress on your Corner" event in Casas Adobes, Arizona, on Jan. 8, 2011. Six people were killed and 12 others were wounded in the shooting.
In her statement on Thursday, Giffords said many of the lawmakers who are skipping their town halls over safety concerns are the same politicians who have opposed gun control measures.