Advocates on all sides of the national debate about gun violence were heard Wednesday when a Senate held an emotion-filled hearing on the issue.
Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), who was seriously wounded in a gun assault in 2011, testified despite having difficulty speaking because of her injuries. "Violence is a big problem," she said, "Too many children are dying. Too many children. We must do something. It will be hard. But the time to act is now. You must act. Be bold. Be courageous. Americans are counting on you." Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, urged Congress to enact better mental health screenings and other gun control measures--emphasizing that they are both gun owners themselves.
On the other side of the issue, gun advocates testified that women and mothers in particular would be put in danger if strict gun control measures limit the number of bullets a gun can contain. The Week magazine reports:
Gayle Trotter, a representative of the conservative Independent Women's Forum, testified that military-style weapons with high-capacity clips are "the great equalizer for women," and that "in a violent confrontation, guns reverse the balance of power." She argued that "using a firearm with a magazine holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition, a woman would have a fighting chance even against multiple attackers." Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) concurred, saying, "Fifteen rounds in the hands of a mother trying to protect her children may not be enough."
The hearing is Congress' first major step toward revisiting gun legislation in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting and other recent gun violence tragedies.
Image: The U.S. Capitol, via Shutterstock