“But one clear and terrible fact remains” from that day, Obama wrote. “A man our Army rejected as unfit for service; a man one of our colleges deemed too unstable for studies; a man apparently bent on violence, was able to walk into a store and buy a gun.”
Suspect Jared Loughner pleaded not guilty last week to 49 additional federal charges stemming from the shooting. He had previously pleaded not guilty to charges of trying to assassinate Giffords and attempting to murder two of her aides.
The Army rejected Loughner for failing a drug test, and Pima Community College banned him from campus after he exhibited unstable behavior, but he was able to legally purchase a semi-automatic pistol that authorities say he used in the attack.
Former Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., candidate for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire, holds his hand over his heart during the singing of the national anthem as he waits to take the stage for his town hall campaign rally with Sen. John McCain at the Pinkerton Academy in Derry, N.H., on Monday, Aug. 18, 2014.