Obama signs Giffords' final bill into law

Reuters News
Posted: Feb 10, 2012 4:53 PM
Obama signs Giffords' final bill into law

(Reuters) - President Barack Obama signed into law on Friday the last legislation written by former U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot and severely wounded in a Tucson shooting rampage last year.

Giffords, who joined Obama at the signing ceremony at the White House, stepped down last month to focus on her recovery from a single gunshot wound to the head.

The Ultralight Aircraft Smuggling Prevention Act gives authorities greater powers to crackdown on smugglers using low-flying, single-seater aircraft to slip drugs across the U.S. borders from Mexico and Canada.

"I wished Gabby well in her recovery and told her that I expect to see more of her in the months and years to come," Obama said in a statement released by the White House.

"I'm confident that while this legislation may have been her last act as a Congresswoman, it will not be her last act of public service," he added.

Giffords was known as a centrist willing to work with Republican colleagues in Congress. Obama said the fact that the legislation passed unanimously showed "just how much Gabby is respected by her colleagues in Congress in both parties."

A gunman armed with a semiautomatic pistol opened fire on Giffords' first congressional outreach event of 2011 on January 8 last year, killing six people and wounding 13 others.

Accused shooter Jared Loughner was charged with 49 crimes, including attempting to assassinate Giffords, who was left with broken speech and a marked limp and continues to receive intensive rehabilitation therapy.

Loughner pleaded not guilty and was found mentally unfit to stand trial at court hearing last May.

(Reporting By Tim Gaynor)