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Giffords had previously faced threats

The shocking shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has Washington and the nation reeling, but the threat of violence is nothing new to the rising young star of the Arizona delegation.

The Arizona representative was among several members of Congress whose vote in favor of Obama's health care legislation sparked vandalism and threats by opponents of the bill.

Just a few hours after legislators - including Giffords - voted to approve Obama's controversial health care bill in March 2009, the front door of Giffords' office in Tuscon was smashed in by vandals.

Last August, Giffords aides called the police after a man dropped a gun at a similar town hall style event at a Safeway.

She was among at least 10 congressional Democrats who expressed concern about their personal security in the face of anonymous threats after voting in support of the health bill. Reps. Bart Stupak of Michigan, Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, and Democratic congressional candidate Tom Periello of Virginia were among those receiving threatening messages related to their support of the bill.

At this time, Republicans noted that members of the GOP have also been the target of threats. Newly-named Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor said at the time that a bullet had been fired into his office, although the Richmond Police Department later determined that the gun had been fired into the air and not directly into the office window.