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Shooter of former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords sentenced to life

November 08, 2012

The gunman who seriously injured former U.S. representative and AMA Bessie Stringfield Award winner Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) was sentenced to life in prison on Nov. 8.

The gunman, Jared Lee Loughner, 24, pleaded guilty to federal charges in the attack on Giffords and others at a political gathering in Arizona in January 2011. Six people died in the attack, and Giffords and others were wounded.

This year, the AMA bestowed on Giffords its AMA Bessie Stringfield Award that recognizes those who have introduced motorcycling to new markets. It’s named after AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Bessie Stringfield, a pioneering African-American motorcyclist who traversed the country in the 1930s-40s, breaking gender and racial barriers.

Until her retirement, Giffords was co-chair of the Congressional Motorcycle Caucus. As a rider for more than 20 years, and as a member of the U.S. House and the caucus, she worked with the AMA on a number of issues to protect and promote motorcycling.

Arguably, Giffords is the most visible woman motorcyclist ever elected on the national level, and her embrace of motorcycling has encouraged many other women to take up riding.

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