Be Bold, Be Courageous: Former Rep. Gabby Giffords Delivers Surprise Opening Statement at Senate Guns Hearing

Former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords prepares to give an opening statement before the Senate Judiciary Committee during a hearing about gun control, seated with her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013. (Getty Images)

Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who survived a gunshot wound to the head, made a surprise Senate hearing appearance Wednesday to urge lawmakers to act to prevent gun violence.

“Thank you for inviting me here today. This is an important conversation for our children, for our communities, for Democrats and Republicans,” Giffords said, speaking slowly and carefully, with husband Mark Kelly sitting beside her in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Giffords was severely wounded in a Jan. 2011 shooting spree that left six people during a congressional event in Tucson, Ariz. Her comments Wednesday were her most extensive public remarks since the shooting.

“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,” Giffords said.