Former U.S. Rep Gabrielle Giffords on Wednesday testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about an issue that has become her own personal crusade: curbing gun violence in the United States.

Giffords was shot in the head during a January 2011 event with constituents in Tucson, Ariz., where six others were killed. She suffered permanent injuries from the event, which led her to resign from Congress in 2012 after three terms in office. But the popular congresswoman vowed to return to public service in the future, which she clearly demonstrated during Wednesday’s hearing on gun violence.

“Thank you for inviting me here today. This is an important conversation, for our children, for our communities, for Democrats and Republicans. Speaking is difficult, but I need to say something important. Violence is a big problem. Too many children are dying. Too many children. We must do something. It will be hard. But the time is now. You must act. Be bold. Be courageous. Americans are counting on you. Thank you,” Giffords said during her testimony.

Giffords and her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, launched Americans for Responsible Solutions this year, a nonprofit the couple has said they hope will become the gun control lobby’s answer to the National Rifle Association.

The mission of the group, according to its website, is to “encourage elected officials to stand up for solutions to prevent gun violence and protect responsible gun ownership by communicating directly with the constituents that elect them.”