Giffords Lends Soft and Powerful Voice to Gun-Control Debate

Former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was seriously injured in the mass shooting that killed six people in Tucson, Ariz. two years ago, sits with her husband, Mark Kelly, right, a retired astronaut, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, prior to speaking before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on what lawmakers should do to curb gun violence in the wake of last month's shooting rampage at that killed 20 schoolchildren in Newtown, Ct. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) (National Journal)

So few words. So much power.

Ex-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, a victim of gun violence, lent her soft, halting voice to the cause of gun control with brief testimony Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"Speaking is difficult," she said, reading from a sheet of paper, punctuating every word with a poignant pause. "But I need to say something important. Violence is a problem. Too many children are dying. Too many children. We must do something."

The former congresswoman, who was shot by a gunman in her Arizona district two years ago, was a last-minute addition to the hearing about the nation's gun laws. Lawmakers are debating how to curb gun violence in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy that left 20 children and six adults dead late last year.

"This is an important conversation for our children, for our communities, for Democrats, and for Republicans," she told her former colleagues.

Giffords sat next to her astronaut husband, Mark Kelly, who gently hugged her after the appearance.