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Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild rang a bell at the downtown fire station 19 times Tuesday morning to note the moment two years ago when Jared Lee Loughner opened fire.
Rothschild rang the bell one time for each of the six people killed and 13 wounded in the attack at a meet-your-congresswoman event being held by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
Giffords was critically wounded in the attack and she resigned from Congress last year.
Tuesday morning's commemoration comes against the backdrop of a national gun control debate that has flared since last month's mass school shooting in Connecticut. Giffords and her husband have called for greater gun control efforts, and they are doing an interview on ABC in which will they will talk about the legacy of the shooting.
A gun control advocate is also holding a weapon buyback in Tucson on the day of the anniversary.
U.S. Rep. Ron Barber was one of the 13 people wounded. He issued the following statement:
"We will never forget what happened on Jan. 8, 2011 - but I also know that our community was not then and will not now be defined by that act of violence.
"Tucson is a special community that was deeply wounded two years ago. Sadly, within the past two years - and even within the past month - other communities in our nation have experienced the hurt and the pain that we in Tucson know too well.
"Because of what happened here, we have a personal understanding of the grief and loss that those communities are experiencing.
"In the wake of these mass shootings, we must take action to prevent another such tragedy. As a survivor, a grandfather, a mental health professional and a member of Congress, I am determined to do so."
Barber marked the moment of the shooting in a private gathering with members of his family and staff. Also on Tuesday, he will visit University of Arizona Medical Center to thank the doctors, nurses and others who treated him and other victims of the shooting. He will then attend an evening prayer service.
Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved.CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation) contributed to this report.