“Thank you for inviting me here today,” Giffords told the panel. “This is an important conversation for our children, for our communities, for Democrats and Republicans. Speaking is difficult but I need to say something important. Violence is a big problem. Too many children are dying. Too many children. We must do something. It will be hard but the time is now. You must act. Be bold, be courageous, Americans are counting on you. Thank you.”
Once considered to be a rising star in the Democratic party, Giffords was the target of an assassination attempt in January 2011 while meeting with constituents outside a Safeway grocery market in Tucson, Ariz. Six people were killed during the assassination attempt, including a federal judge, one of Giffords’ staffers and a nine-year old girl. Another former staffer of Giffords who was injured in the shooting, Ron Barber, now holds her Congressional seat in Washington.
Giffords’ husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, assisted her during the speech, as Giffords still has a noticeable speech impediment from the assassination attempt. Kelly also testified during the hearing.
Recently Giffords and Kelly launched a gun control initiative aimed at curbing gun violence in America in response to the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut last month.
You can watch video of Rep. Giffords here. Her statement begins around the 27-minute mark.