Appearing before a Senate hearing on gun control Wednesday, former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords urged her former colleagues to pass new laws that will prevent tragedies, saying that they "must act" and "be bold" in doing so. Washington bureau reporter Michael Scotto filed the following report for NY1.
Gabrielle Giffords walked slowly and spoke haltingly.
"Speaking is difficult, but I need to say something important," she said.
In a powerful statement that opened up Wednesday's packed hearing on gun violence, the former Arizona Congresswoman told lawmakers that they must finally take action.
"Too many children are dying. Too many children," she said. "We must do something."
But doing something won't be easy. Republicans remain opposed to enacting a ban on assault weapons and are skeptical of limiting the size of ammunition clips.
"In my judgement, the proposed assault weapons ban is a singularly ineffective piece of legislation," said Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.
And the National Rifle Association has made it clear that it is largely opposed to any new regulations, including universal background checks, a measure the gun lobby once supported.
"My problem with background checks is, you're never going to get criminals to go through universal background checks," said Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the NRA.
LaPierre's statement was met with a response by Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois.
"Mr. LaPierre, that's the point," Durbin said. "Criminals won't go to purchase the guns because there'll be a background check. It'll stop them from the original purchase. You missed that point completely."
Despite the clear and, at times, unwavering positions from both sides, there are some hopeful signs that there could be bipartisanship on some measures.
Some Republicans have indicated that they'd be open to stronger background checks, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has teamed up with Republican Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois to stop gun trafficking.
"I think it's an excellent complement to making sure we have background checks because if you're making sure all law-abiding citizens are going through background checks, you also have to close off the spigot of illegal guns that are being trafficked around the background check system," Gillibrand said.
The bill could end up winning the support of both sides as lawmakers try to come up with a solution to stop gun violence.