WASHINGTON - The first Senate hearing on gun control since the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre is under way in Washington.

The witness of the day was former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Giffords gave unscheduled opening statements at the hearing on gun violence. 

"Speaking is difficult, but I need to say something important, volence is a big problem and too many children are dying. We must do something," said Giffords. 

Giffords was severely injured two years ago when she was shot in the head outside a Tucson supermarket.

Another person expected to speak today is NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre who says the right to bear arms is a "God-given freedom."

Giffords' husband, Mark Kelly, agrees with that, but says after the Newtown massacre something has to be done.

Giffords and Kelly recently formed a political action group called Americans for Responsible Solutions, aimed at promoting gun restrictions. 

Earlier this month, President Obama proposed a package that includes banning assault weapons, requiring background checks on all firearms purchases and limiting ammunition magazines to 10 rounds.