February 23, 2017 5:09 PM EST

Former Rep. Gabby Giffords told members of Congress to “have some courage” and hold town hall meetings in spite of angry demonstrations.

Giffords, who was shot during a public event in 2011, released a statement criticizing lawmakers who are skipping town hall meetings this recess on the website for Americans for Responsible Solutions, the pro-gun control group she runs with her husband.

“To the politicians who have abandoned their civic obligations, I say this: Have some courage,” she said. “Face your constituents. Hold town halls.”

A number of Republican members of Congress have avoided holding town halls or scheduled more tightly controlled “telephone town halls” after seeing protests erupt over Trump Administration policies.

Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert even cited the Giffords shooting as a reason not to hold a town hall.

“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,” he wrote in a letter to constituents Tuesday.

Giffords responded by noting that her office was open to the public two days after the shooting.

Read Giffords complete response below.


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