The first congressional hearing on gun control since the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, Connecticut took a dramatic turn with an appeal for tougher gun laws from wounded Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Washington, D.C. bureau reporter Michael Scotto has the story.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Gabrielle Giffords walked slowly and spoke haltingly.
“Speaking is difficult, but I need to say something important,” Giffords said.
In a powerful statement that opened up Wednesday's packed hearing on gun violence, the former Arizona Congresswoman told lawmakers that they must finally take action.
Giffords said, “Too many children are dying. Too many children. We must do something.”
But doing something won't be easy. 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,” said Texas Senator Ted Cruz.
And the NRA has made it clear that it is largely opposed to any new regulations, including universal background checks, a measure the gun lobby once supported.
“My problem with background checks is you're never going to get criminals to go through universal background checks,” said Wayne LaPierre, NRA Executive Vice President.
“Mr. LaPierre, that's the point,” Illinois Senator Richard Durbin said. “Criminals won't go to purchase the guns because there'll be a background check. It'll stop them from the original purchase. You missed that point completely.”
Despite the clear and, at times, unwavering positions from both sides, there are some hopeful signs that there could be bipartisanship on some measures.
Some Republicans have indicated that they'd be open to stronger background checks.
And Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has teamed up with Illinois Republican Senator Mark Kirk to stop gun trafficking
Gillibrand said, “If you're making sure all law abiding citizens go through background checks, you also have to close off the spigot of illegal guns that are being trafficked around the background check system.”
The bill could end winning the support of both sides, as lawmakers try to come up with a solution to stop gun violence.