The Slatest

Giffords: “Speaking Is Difficult but I Need To Say Something Important.’

As we explained yesterday, today’s the day of a high-profile Senate hearing on gun safety and control featuring both the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre and Mark Kelly. The hearing is the Senate Judiciary Committee’s first on gun-related violence in more than 14 months, and is expected to lay the groundwork for whatever action the upper chamber ends up taking when it comes to guns. It’s also likely to provide some good theater, as LaPierre faces what is expected to be some harsh questions from gun-control advocates like the panel’s Dianne Feinstein.

Former Rep. Gabby Giffords made something of a surprise appearance to deliver prepared remarks to kick things off this morning. “Speaking is difficult, but I need to say something important,” she told the panel after being helped to the microphone by her husband. “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.” Here’s the video:

You can watch the ongoing hearing live below. We’ll continue to update with any major developments, although any fireworks—if they come—likely won’t occur until the Q & A portion of the hearing that follows opening statements.

This post has been updated with additional information.