Gardner, who suffered a foot wound, had come to Giffords' "Congress on Your Corner" in Tucson last Saturday to support her, especially her stand on the healthcare bill.
"I wanted to tell her to stand tall in the efforts to repeal it," he told The Arizona Republic.
As he lay on the ground, he said, he flashed back to May 4, 1970.
As a sophomore at Kent State University in Ohio, Gardner had joined a student protest against the Vietnam War when the Ohio National Guard opened fire. He sprinted toward a field and "hit the ground" to avoid the bullets. Four of his classmates were killed.
"Here I am again," he thought, "dodging bullets."
A week later, Gardner is recovering at home. He wears a soft cast reaching almost to the knee. Doctors told him a bullet passed through his right foot, amazingly avoiding any bones.