By Mike Lillis - 01/30/13 04:06 PM EST
"Speaking is difficult, but I need to say something important," Giffords said in halting language as the packed hearing room hung on every word. "Too many children are dying. We must do something.
"This will be hard, but the time is now. You must act," she added. The country, she said, "is counting on you."
Giffords left the hearing immediately after her testimony, and was helped out of the room by her husband, Mark Kelly.
Read more on the Senate hearing on gun violence prevention.