Gabby Giffords holds Raleigh gun control rally

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RALEIGH, N.C. -- Former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and her husband visited Raleigh on Sunday as part of a nationwide tour to discuss gun safety legislation.

Giffords said few words as she is still regaining the ability to speak.

The former congresswoman was injured in January 2011 when a mentally ill man opened fire at an outdoor constituent event in Tucson, Ariz. Six people were killed, and 13 were injured, including Giffords.

She and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, co-founded the gun violence prevention group Americans for Responsible Solutions.

Giffords and Kelly, who own guns, discussed ways they said increased gun controls can coexist with the right of Americans to own guns.

"We need to do a better job keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, the dangerously mentally ill,” said Mark Kelly, at the private event. “The way we do that is we expand background checks to gun shows, private sales and internet sales."

Giffords and her husband said they hope the tour – which they’ve dubbed the “Rights and Responsibilities Tour,” will get the U.S. Senate to vote again on expanding background checks.

Some protesters picketed the event outside.

"What she's asking for is a private sale ban, wanting to force every single firearm sale to go through a federal firearms licensing, which creates a defacto gun registry, and we don't want any part of that,” said one gun rights supporter outside the event.

North Carolina is the seventh state on their tour.