A Senate aide says wounded former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords will be a surprise witness at Wednesday's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on how to curb gun violence.
The former Arizona Democrat, who suffered a severe head wound in a 2011 shooting as she met with constituents outside a Tucson supermarket, is not expected to answer questions at the session, according to the aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity because Giffords' appearance had not been announced. Six people were killed and 12 others wounded.
Giffords' husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, had already been scheduled to appear before the panel. The two have formed a political action group called Americans for Responsible Solutions, aimed at promoting gun restrictions.
Also testifying will be Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association. According to his prepared testimony released by the NRA on Tuesday, LaPierre is expected to double-down on the group’s opposition to a new federal ban on assault weapons and federal background checks for all firearms buyers.
“Law-abiding gun owners will not accept blame for the acts of violent or deranged criminals,” LaPierre’s prepared testimony states. “Nor do we believe the government should dictate what we can lawfully own and use to protect our families.”