Former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.) made a surprise appearance at the beginning of this morning’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun control.
“Speaking is difficult but I need to say something important,” Giffords said haltingly before lawmakers’ opening statements.
“Violence is a big problem,” she continued. “Too many children are dying. Too many children. We must do something. It will be hard but the time is now.”
“Be bold. Be courageous. Americans are counting on you,” Giffords added.
Her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, is on the witness list to testify later. He was at her side during her statement.
Also scheduled to testify at the packed hearing is Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association, as well as Baltimore County Police Chief James Johnson.
“We must come together today as Americans seeking common cause. Let us forego sloganeering, demagoguery and partisan recriminations,” said chairman Pat Leahy (D-Vt.).
“As a responsible gun owner and someone who cherishes all of our constitutional rights; as a Senator who has sworn an oath to uphold those rights; as a father and grandfather; and as a former prosecutor who has seen the results of gun violence first hand, I undertake these efforts with hope that this hearing can build consensus around commonsense solutions. Previous measures to close the gun show loophole or to improve the background check system have been bipartisan. I hope in this new Congress, further improvements will also become bipartisan,” said Leahy, who also chided those in the hearing room to be respectful and warned Capitol Police would take out those who are disruptive..
Stay tuned for full coverage of this hearing.