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Gabrielle Giffords opens Senate gun hearing with plea: 'Be bold'

January 30, 2013|By Melanie Mason

WASHINGTON -- The year's first congressional committee hearing on guns began with an emotional jolt Wednesday, with former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was seriously wounded in a mass shooting two years ago, urging senators to "be bold, be courageous" in addressing gun violence.

Bucking tradition, Giffords spoke at the outset of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, before senators made their opening statements. She and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, were escorted to the witness table by the committee's chairman, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, and its ranking Republican, Sen. Charles E. Grassley of Iowa.

Giffords, whose speech is impaired after being shot in the head by Jared Loughner two years ago, spoke slowly and emphatically in a minute-long statement.

"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," she said.

"It will be hard, but the time is now," Giffords added. "You must act. Be bold. Be courageous. Americans are counting on you."

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