Gabrielle Giffords visits Newtown
January 5, 2013 -- Updated 1535 GMT (2335 HKT)
Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who survived a mass shooting two years ago, visited Newtown on Friday.
- NEW: She discussed gun control and mental health treatment with local leaders
- Gabrielle Giffords makes a private visit to the Connecticut town
- After the Newtown shooting, Giffords' husband, Mark Kelly, vented his frustrations
- The former Democrat lawmaker retired from Congress last year to focus on her recovery
(CNN) -- The former Arizona congresswoman who survived a mass shooting in her district roughly two years ago paid a visit Friday to Newtown, Connecticut, where last month a gunman killed 27 people and himself in one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history.
Gabrielle Giffords made the trip with her husband, Mark Kelly. The couple met with local and state leaders to discuss gun control legislation, mental health identification and treatment, and "concerns for the erosion of our societal values such that we are increasingly desensitized to violence," according to Newtown First Selectman Pat Llodra.
"There is an agreed-upon sense of urgency that we need to take action while we have the world's attention," Llodra said of the meeting.
Giffords retired from Congress last year to focus on her recovery after she was shot in the head in January 2011. Giffords was one of 19 people shot at a political event at a shopping plaza in Tucson, Arizona, and spent months relearning how to speak and walk. Six people died in the encounter, including a 9-year-old girl and a federal judge.
Gun control and public health
After the Newtown shooting on December 14, her husband vented his frustrations on Twitter.
"When will we address this problem as a nation? The time is now!" Kelly wrote.
Giffords' visit came one day after Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy set a two-month deadline for a special commission to address the state's gun laws, mental health policies and public security issues. He called for recommendations to be brought to the state legislature by March 15.
"We don't know the underlying cause of this tragedy, and we probably never will," Malloy said, but that is "no reason for inaction."
Friday's visit also coincided with the second day of school for students from Sandy Hook Elementary, where 20 of their classmates -- all ages 6 or 7 -- were killed last month. The gunman, Adam Lanza, also gunned down six adults after killing his mother, an avid gun collector, in her Newtown home.
Authorities say security measures have been increased at Chalk Hill Middle School in the nearby Connecticut town of Monroe, where Sandy Hook students are currently attending class. Their former school remains part of an active police investigation.
Giffords met earlier this week with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to discuss gun control, a topic that the three-term mayor has pressed on the national stage, urging tighter restrictions on high-capacity magazines and assault rifles.
Despite emotions, little happens legislatively after mass shootings
CNN's Joe Sutton contributed to this report.
Today's five most popular stories
Part of complete coverage on
December 12, 2014 -- Updated 2030 GMT (0430 HKT)
Though Congress hasn't passed any gun reform laws in the two years since the Sandy Hook massacre, there's one senator who's made it his mission to push for changes.
November 23, 2014 -- Updated 1914 GMT (0314 HKT)
Adam Lanza was an isolated young man with deteriorating mental health and a fascination for mass violence, according to a report released by a Connecticut state agency.
December 14, 2013 -- Updated 1558 GMT (2358 HKT)
Horror struck Newtown, Connecticut, in such a disturbing way that the nation still struggles with its impact a year later.
June 8, 2013 -- Updated 1120 GMT (1920 HKT)
Fifty miles from Newtown, workers hate that their products fall into the wrong hand. But the Second Amendment is sacred here.
Rabbi Shaul Praver says people in Newtown have grown weary of syrupy condolences.
June 8, 2013 -- Updated 1118 GMT (1918 HKT)
Congress may have defeated tighter gun laws, but states have been passing bills of their own in the wake of Newtown
Details continue to emerge about what precisely happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Here is a timeline of events that compiles the latest reporting.
An interactive tribute to the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
May 25, 2013 -- Updated 0512 GMT (1312 HKT)
The public school district will receive $1.3 million to help the community recover from the , U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced.
March 29, 2013 -- Updated 1353 GMT (2153 HKT)
Police released new documents related to the shootings last year at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, but a motive for the attack by the troubled young man remained elusive.
January 15, 2013 -- Updated 1626 GMT (0026 HKT)
His parents remember Dylan Hockley as such a happy child.
December 19, 2012 -- Updated 1517 GMT (2317 HKT)
Amid the chaos that first-responder Ray Corbo witnessed on Friday, there is one image that he will never forget.
December 20, 2012 -- Updated 1502 GMT (2302 HKT)
In many ways, Josh Stepakoff's childhood came to an abrupt halt at 10:49 a.m. on August 10, 1999.
December 20, 2012 -- Updated 1440 GMT (2240 HKT)
When Lauren Rousseau's boyfriend wakes up, he can smell her perfume.
December 18, 2012 -- Updated 1530 GMT (2330 HKT)
Placing yourself in the path of flying bullets to protect innocents. It's a job description fitting for a soldier or police officer, but not for a school teacher.