The Washington Times - January 30, 2013, 10:30AM

Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was gravely wounded in a shooting at a constituent event in Tucson, Ariz., in January 2011, delivered a brief opening statement before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday morning.

“Thank you for inviting me here today,” she said. “This is an important conversation for our children, for our communities, for Democrats and Republicans. 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.”

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Ms. Giffords has not appeared in public many times, though she did make an emotional return to Capitol Hill in the summer of 2011 to cast a vote on a deal to raise the country’s debt limit.

Ms. Giffords eventually resigned her seat, and her former chief of staff, Rep. Ron Barber, now serves as a congressman from Arizona. Mr. Barber is a vice chairman of California Rep. Mike Thompson’s congressional task force on gun violence.