Giffords demands Senate hearing on gun violence

Former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.) asked the Senate Judiciary Committee to hold a hearing on preventing gun violence against women.

“Congressional action has meant the difference between life and death for many women. But many of those who perpetrate violence against women are still allowed easy access to firearms,” Giffords wrote in a letter. “More action is needed — and soon. Women's lives are at stake.”

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Giffords personally delivered a petition signed by more than 37,000 requesting the hearing to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) at the Capitol on Thursday.

Giffords said Congress should “leave no stone unturned” when it comes to protecting women.

“We know more about the dangerous connection between domestic abuse and guns than we ever have,” Giffords said. “Let’s leave no stone unturned when it comes to protecting women and their families.”

Giffords was shot in the head while doing a constituent event in Arizona. She has since resigned from serving in the House and has started an organization, Americans for Responsible Solutions, that advocates for gun control reforms.

Giffords suggested requiring background checks when guns are purchased at gun shows, over the Internet and in private sales. She said because background checks for gun sales are not mandatory in every instance, it allows domestic abusers to buy guns, when they’d otherwise be flagged.

She also said the committee should consider adding misdemeanor crimes of stalking, harassment or sexual assault to the list of persons prohibited from owning a gun.

Last year, the Senate tried to pass gun control reforms that would have required background checks on all gun sales, but after the National Riffle Association came out against the legislation, Republicans blocked the bill.