Connecticut state Rep. DebraLee Hovey (R) has apologized after directing a Facebook post at former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) last week, telling the lawmaker who was wounded in a mass shooting to "stay out of [her] towns." Giffords on Friday visited Newtown, Conn., where a mass shooting last month killed 26, including 20 first graders, as well as the gunman and his mother.
“The remarks I made regarding Congresswoman Gifford’s visit were insensitive and if I offended anyone I truly apologize,” Hovey said, according to the New Haven Register. "My comments were meant to be protective of the privacy of the families and our community as we work to move on, and were in no way intended as an insult to Congresswoman Giffords personally. Our community has struggled greatly through this tragedy, and we are all very sensitive to the potential for this event to be exploited for political purposes. This is what I wish to avoid."
Hovey's posts, removed since their original posting on Friday, read "Gabby Giffords stay out of my towns!!!" and went on to allege that the meeting between Giffords, state leaders and families of those killed during last month's massacre was driven by "pure political motives."
(Click over to the Hartford Courant for screenshots of the posts)
Giffords' trip to Newtown was days before the two-year anniversary of the shooting in Tucson, Ariz., which killed six and injured 13, including the congresswoman. Giffords was left partially blind, with a paralyzed right arm and brain injury, according to the Associated Press.
Giffords's husband, Mark Kelly, has become a vocal proponent for gun control since her shooting. Upon hearing the news of the Newtown shooting, Kelly challenged leaders to exhibit "the courage to participate in a meaningful discussion about our gun laws -- and how they can be reformed and better enforced to prevent gun violence and death in America."
CORRECTION: This article originally misidentified the New Haven Register as the source of Hovey's comments. It has been corrected.