Gabrielle Giffords delivered a short, powerful, and somewhat difficult to watch statement on Capitol Hill today to kick off the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearing on gun control. "Speaking is difficult, but I need to say something important," Giffords said in halting tones. "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." Giffords didn't take questions, leaving the chamber after her remarks.
- Mark Kelly returned to read a more in-depth statement, noting that he and his wife were also gun owners. "Gabby would never relinquish her gun, and I would never relinquish mine," he said. But "when dangerous people get dangerous guns, we are all the more vulnerable."
- But Wayne LaPierre struck a defiant tone. "Law-abiding gun owners will not accept blame for the acts of violent or deranged criminals," he said. He also criticized the government for not enforcing existing laws. "Unfortunately, we've seen a dramatic collapse in federal gun prosecutions."
- Chairman Pat Leahy and ranking Republican Chuck Grassley each staked out their respective party's ideological ground. "What responsible gun owner objects to the background check program?" Leahy asked. Grassley focused on the need to rein in video game violence, and criticized President Obama's recent remarks about gun violence, saying they "turned the Constitution on its head."
Sources consulted for this roundup included Roll Call
, and Slate