The Washington Post

Giffords: ‘Be bold. Be courageous’

She uttered just 71 words. But Gabrielle Giffords, in delivering her first extended public remarks since she was gunned down in Tucson two years ago, created perhaps the most emotional moment in the fraught debate over the nation’s gun laws.

Giffords spoke slowly, but with purpose, each word chosen carefully. She acknowledged in her statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee that it was hard for her to speak, but that there was something she needed to say.

“This is an important conversation for our children, for our communities, for Democrats and Republicans,” Giffords said. “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.”

At that, she looked up at the senators seated at the dais.

“It will be hard, but the time is now,” she said. “You must act. Be bold. Be courageous. Americans are counting on you. Thank you.”

Giffords, an Arizona Democrat, was accompanied by her astronaut husband, Mark Kelly, who was scheduled to testify and answer questions later in the hearing on gun violence.

About 10 a.m., Giffords and Kelly walked in from the senators’ entrance to the hearing room accompanied by the committee chairman, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and its top-ranking Republican, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (Iowa). Giffords greeted several Democratic senators, including Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) and Chris Coons (Del.), before taking her seat at the witness table.

Philip Rucker is a national political correspondent for The Washington Post, where he has reported since 2005.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Show Comments
The Democrats debate Thursday. Get caught up on the race.
What to expect tonight
Tonight's debate is likely to focus on the concerns of African American and Latino voters. Clinton has focused in recent days on issues like gun control, criminal-sentencing reform, and the state of drinking water in Flint, Mich. Sanders has been aggressively moving to appeal to the same voters, combining his core message about economic unfairness with his own calls to reform the criminal-justice system.
South Carolina polling averages
The S.C. Democratic primary is Feb. 27. Clinton has a significant lead in the state, whose primary falls one week after the party's Nevada caucuses.
62% 33%
South Carolina polling averages
Donald Trump leads in the polls as he faces rivals Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz heading into the S.C. GOP primary on Feb. 20.
Fact Checker
Trump’s claim that his border wall would cost $8 billion
The billionaire's claim is highly dubious. Based on the costs of the Israeli security barrier (which is mostly fence) and the cost of the relatively simple fence already along the U.S.-Mexico border, an $8 billion price tag is simply not credible.
Pinocchio Pinocchio Pinocchio Pinocchio
Upcoming debates
Feb. 11: Democratic debate

on PBS, in Wisconsin

Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

Campaign 2016
Where the race stands

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.