Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) on Thursday invoked the shooting former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ) to defend his decision to not host in-person town halls with constituents. “Unfortunately, at this time there are groups from the more violent strains of the leftist ideology, some even being paid, who are preying on public town halls to wreak havoc and threaten public safety,” the congressman wrote to constituents this week, citing an unfounded right-wing trope about recent town-hall events being dominated by “paid” protesters. “Threats are nothing new to me and I have gotten my share as a felony judge. However, the House Sergeant at Arms advised us after former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot at a public appearance, that civilian attendees at congressional public events stand the most chance of being harmed or killed—just as happened there.” Giffords was shot in the head in 2011 during a “Congress on Your Corner” event she hosted in Tucson. The gunman, Jared Lee Loughner, injured 12 others and killed six during his mass shooting.