An emotional, fiery and enlightening first hearing on gun violence got underway Wednesday morning on Capitol Hill. The back and forth on gun control legislation is likely to be the most contentious as the NRA and senators backing stricter laws go head-to-head.
Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, critically-wounded in a 2011 mass shooting in Tucson, Ariz., opened the first hearing with an emotional plea.
"Too many children are dying -- too many children," Giffords said. "The time is now. You must act."
The packed hearing room is the setting for senators both for and against tightening new gun laws who are questioning the NRA, law enforcement and gun experts..
"Previous measures to close the gun show loophole or to improve the background check system have been bipartisan," said Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.).
"Any serious discussion on the causes of gun violence must include a complex reexamination of mental health as it relates to mass shootings," said Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).
Wayne LaPierre, the head of the NRA, opposes new gun legislation and in response to the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., supports armed guards in schools..
"It is time to throw an immediate blanket of security around our children," LaPierre said.
Wednesday's testimony comes days after Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) introduced a renewed ban on 157 types of semiautomatic weapons along with ammunition clips holding more than ten rounds.
"Christina Taylor Green, 9-years-old, born on September 11 of 2001, was killed by the thirteenth bullet or after," said Mark Kelly, Giffords' husband, as he made a case for a large clip ammunition ban.