"Speaking is difficult, but I need to say something important," former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, currently convening hearings on gun safety. "We must do something. It will be hard but the time is now." This is the full text of her statement:

"Thank you for inviting me here today. 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. Thank you."

And her own handwritten copy:

Watch Gabrielle Giffords' Moving Statement at the Senate's Gun Safety Hearings

Giffords was followed at the hearings by the NRA's Wayne LaPierre, who reiterated his call for armed guards in schools.