Giffords speaks at Congressional hearing on gun violence
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Former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords spoke at a Congressional hearing Wednesday on gun violence.
Giffords—who was critically injured two years ago—gave a brief, but moving statement at the start of today's Senate hearing on gun violence, urging lawmakers to pass new gun control legislation.
"It will be hard, but the time is now. You must act. Be bold, be courageous, Americans are counting on you," Giffords said at the hearing.
Despite an emotional start, there appeared to be little movement from Republicans and the NRA on enacting stricter gun control laws. Republicans remain opposed to enacting a ban on assault weapons and are skeptical of limiting the size of ammunition clips.
“In my judgment, the proposed assault weapons ban is a singularly ineffective piece of legislation,” Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said.
In his testimony, Wayne LaPierre, executive director of the NRA, rejected calls for new legislation and instead told Congress to enforce the laws currently on the books.
In a tense back-and-forth with Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, LaPierre dismissed calls for expanded background checks that would cover private and gun show sales.
Despite the firm positions taken by Republicans and Democrats, there are some small signs of bipartisanship.
On Wednesday, Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Republican Senator Mark Kirk introduced legislation that would make firearms trafficking a federal crime. As it stands, states with strict gun control laws are helpless in preventing criminals from bringing guns from out of state to commit crimes.