Mark Kelly to CNN: He and Giffords used NRA practice range
January 29th, 2013
04:10 PM ET
2 years ago

Mark Kelly to CNN: He and Giffords used NRA practice range

Washington (CNN) - Commander Mark Kelly and his wife, former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, were such gun enthusiasts, they used to go together to the NRA practice range outside of Washington, Kelly tells CNN.

He even says he considered joining the NRA, but "never got around to it."

Now, Kelly is preparing to take on the powerful gun lobby at the first congressional hearing on gun violence since December's massacre in Newtown, Connecticut.

In a telephone interview, Kelly told CNN he will tell members of the Senate Judiciary Committee that he and Giffords are "both moderate gun owners and strong supporters of the Second Amendment, but we really need to do something about the safety of our kids and our communities. It's gotten really out of hand."

Kelly says he has never met the other star witness at Wednesday's hearing, NRA Executive Director Wayne LaPierre, but says he looks forward to it because he believes there are probably some things they could agree on right now.

"The NRA does some really good things. They teach people about gun safety, how to handle a firearm – a lot of what the NRA does is really positive," said Kelly.

But these days, they disagree more than they agree.

"You would think with my background I would be a member of the NRA. I own a gun. I recently bought a hunting rifle a few months ago. I went through a background check. It took I think about 20 minutes. It's a small price to pay to make us safer. We're not going to stop every one of these mass shootings. We're not going to stop every murder with a handgun in our cities, but I think we'd go a long way to reducing the violence and preventing some," said Kelly.

Kelly, a retired astronaut and 25 year veteran of the Navy, is now pushing gun control through a new organization he recently started with Giffords called Americans for Responsible Solutions, which has both a lobbying arm of its own and a super PAC to raise unlimited funds for its cause.
Kelly tells CNN he and his wife have not yet endorsed any legislation, but he certainly sounded supportive of not only universal background checks, but also much of what is in Sen. Dianne Feinstein's bill to revive the expired assault weapons ban.

"We are going to work to pass some reasonable gun violence legislation that addresses universal background checks, closing the gun show loophole and helping with mental health issues, and banning high capacity magazines, and both Gabby and I are of the opinion that semi automatic assault weapons should be left for the military to use," said Kelly.

"I spent 25 years in the Navy. I'm well aware of the capability of some of these guns, especially when combined with a high capacity magazine, they're great at killing a lot of people very quickly and that should be left for the military," he argued.

"We shouldn't have to deal with assault weapons on our streets."


Filed under: Gabrielle Giffords • Gun rights • Mark Kelly
soundoff (139 Responses)
  1. contessa

    And does it really matter what gun range they used?? It is apparent that the hearing that is being held on Capital Hill, this very minute, is nothing but a "political hearing". That is the entire problem with gun control!! It is simply political!! The NRA is a BILLION DOLLAR machine that could really care less about anything but promoting the sale of guns. Personally, I think it is unconscionable that the NRA is promoting putting guns in schools for teachers and school administration to so call "protect" or children!! Does a child of (5) or (6) need to go to school everyday wondering if his/her teacher or principal could be using a gun??? Young children will end up with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that will affect them entire life, even if the gun is never used!! Are we becoming a third world country????? I have to wonder if that is becoming the case!! This hearing should NOT be political!! It SHOULD BE to the best interests of every American child and person who may get in the way of gun violence!!

    January 30, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  2. mike hunt

    "Yes, it would be hard for any thinking individual to join an organization that supports the rights of murderers."

    are you referring to the Deomocrate party?

    January 30, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  3. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Wayne Lapierre and the gun toting republicans won't take gun control seriously until one of their kids is gunned down by some lunatic. Then the dogs would have some empathy and compassion.

    January 30, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  4. Van

    They seem like very nice people and she has ever right to voice here opinion for all she has gone through. I do feel though that she probably had some feelings about gun control even prior to the shooting even is she did go to the "range".

    January 30, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  5. rs

    mike hunt

    "Yes, it would be hard for any thinking individual to join an organization that supports the rights of murderers."

    are you referring to the Deomocrate party?
    _____________________________
    Ummm, no, actually. I was referring to the NRA and "do Nothing" Republicans.

    January 30, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  6. Rudy NYC

    Rex wrote:

    The Constitution was written to limit the powers of Government, not to limit the rights of the People. "Shall not be infringed" is clear, as are the recorded opinions of the Founders. History clearly shows where citizen disarmament leads; to Stalin, to Mao, to Pol Pot.
    ----------------------
    Deregulation of gun laws is exactly what Hitler did. The 2nd Amendment was written to define how the national militia, which did not exist at the time of its' writing, would be comprised of The People. Not hired mercenaries who answered to a despot. The 2nd Amendment is consistent with the Preamble, which speaks of the nation's welfare.

    It was not written to grant The People the right to revolt. It was written to grant The People the right to defend the nation's welvare for themselves, which is exactly how the Revolutionary War was fought. The revolutionary armies were comprised of citizen militias, not hired mercenaries. The amendment guarantees that citizens will make up the nation's militia, and that all citizens have a right to participate in it.

    January 30, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  7. nwgunslinger

    REally !! " Gabby and I are of the opinion that semi automatic assault weapons should be left for the military to use," He's a Navy veteran and knows, or should know, full well that the military does not use semi-auto rifles and hasn't since the Korean war. The semi-auto AR-15 was designed for civilian use, not military use.

    He also said "We shouldn't have to deal with assault weapons on our streets." If he believes that he should move to take them away from the police because except in extremely rare situations, most of the "assault" rifles on the street are in the hands of polcie officers.

    January 30, 2013 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  8. Casual Observor

    Criminals fear an armed populace and that is precisely why politicians want to disarm you. Who robs you 24/7? Not the mugger on the street corner.

    January 30, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  9. Wilson

    Rudy, when do you think the administration will pass an "Eualization of Opportunity Bill?"

    January 30, 2013 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  10. UDidntBuildThat

    Dems referring to John & Theresa Heinz-Kerry, – "We gladly support wealthy people who exhibit the pragmatic, altruistic societal responsibility required by the social contract and are willing to advocate for raising their own taxes when it's necessary."
    __________________________________________________
    Ha! Is that why they parked their multi-million dollar ship in Rhode Island for the sole purpose of avoiding paying the exorbertant taxes in Taxachussette???!!! I love when u liberals are just so darn ignorant!
    PS Romney was all for raising his taxes as long as Govt acted and spend it responsibly and not have liberal politicanls like Obama reward their rich, obscenly, wealthy campaign donors/friends with our hard earned taxpayers dollars!!

    January 30, 2013 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  11. eric smith

    "...both Gabby and I are of the opinion that semi automatic assault weapons should be left for the military to use," said Kelly."

    They are either ignorant of guns or are being political here.
    There is no such thing as an "assault weapon". Doesnt exist. This is a made up political term to describe scary looking guns.

    Assault rifles, on the other hand, actually do exist. These are military riles with full auto capability.

    Civillians have had semi automatic rifles forever. Just because some are made to LOOK like their military counter parts doesnt mean they are military rifles or "assault weapons" <- silly made up political term that means nothing in the gun world.

    For the 2nd amendment to have any meaning, the populace needs sufficient arms to have a chance to overthrow their government if it ever becomes a tyranny. Semi-automatic rifles with large capacity magazines, which account for nearly NO gun crime, are the minimum we would need.

    This focus on "assault weapons" is a farce. If they really cared about people and kids, the focus would be on hand guns. They do all the damage.

    Gun crime and crime in general is at multi-decade lows. Yet the propaganda media has everyone convinced its out of control.

    January 30, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  12. Old Shoe

    99.9% of gun owners are very responsible in the use, handling, storage and security of their firearms. 80% of all firearm related fatalities are with handguns not assault rifles. The remaining percentage with rifles are usually hunting related accidents and accidental discharges. The lion's share of all handgun deaths are due to gang or drug related violence, meaning gun use by criminals. My point is that the proposed new gun laws will have very little impact over all in reducing gun fatalities because criminals will still get guns on the black market.
    The statement "Gabby and I are of the opinion that semi automatic assault weapons should be left for the military to use," shows how ignorant they are in the differences between a military assault weapon and a semi-automatic AR15. Virtually NONE of the military versions of assault weapons are semi automatic. Military assault weapons can select between fully auto or 2,3 or even 4 round bursts. Any law banning semi automatic "Assault Rifles" can be applied to all semi automatic hunting rifles, because semi automatic assault rifles and semi automatic hunting rifles work the same, they only look different. People will buy an AR-15 because it looks military and can be chambered as a.308. The same reason people buy a Hummer, it is as close as they will ever come to owning a military version of the Humvee, so they settle for a look alike.

    January 30, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  13. Mark

    so if your neighbor drives drunk and kills someone, the government can take away your car. If the neighbor drives a Toyota, the government will ban Toyotas? I don't think so – gun ban/control is the same. Why should law abiding gun enthusiasts have their guns limited or taken away? If we are so intent on saving even "one life", let's start with abortion. Or think about it, 6000 children die each year by drowning – let's ban pools or beaches.

    January 30, 2013 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  14. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    According to conservatives, the Founding Fathers' Second Amendment provision of Americans to bear arms does not limit their right to obtain deadly assault weapons. Well, with that being said, as an American do I have the constitutional right to purchase a tank, a flame thrower, a gathling gun, a cannon, an asortment of grenades. a fighter jet or a nuclear device??? I believe all these machines have the capacity or ability to unleash force by pulling a trigger. And would the FBI or CIA come knocking on my door if I had the resources and decided to make such a purchase??? And what if I decided to go to a rouge state and make that purchase??? Would Uncle Sam prohibit me from so doing??? I doubt the second amendment prohibits me from purchasing a weapon of war from a foreign country. Care to respond???

    January 30, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  15. CavPilot

    Obviously the new term of the month is "reasonable". Typical propagandists trying to imply that, if you disagree in the slightest, you are an unreasonable person. George Orwell was off by about 25 years... it's coming and the lemmings blindly follow.

    January 30, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  16. Rudy NYC

    Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Wayne Lapierre and the gun toting republicans won't take gun control seriously until one of their kids is gunned down by some lunatic. Then the dogs would have some empathy and compassion.
    -------------–
    I seriously doubt that. A Republican president was shot and they fought vigorously against gun control for over a decade.

    January 30, 2013 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  17. Darkseider

    I find it amazing that a former U.S. military officer has a hard time differentiating an assault weapon from a semi auto rifle. I also find it very odd that he and his wife have this new cause. Could it be that there is a whole bunch of special interest money being funneled into their coffers? Hmmm... could be. This is what makes hypocrites so much fun to poke fun at. Simply because they can be bought and sold as opposed to sticking to their views. Mr. Mark Matiolli the father of one of the murdered children testified in front of a panel that he does not want any additional bans or laws. He regards failed parenting, lack of personal responsibility and civility as the problems as well as a poor mental health system. That is an honest man and a brave man for speaking the truth during his time of grief. Truth will always shine through and I thank Mr. Matiolli for being brave enough to speak it.

    January 30, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  18. Colorado Joe

    @Old Shoe
    >>he same reason people buy a Hummer, it is as close as they will ever come to owning a military version of the Humvee, so they settle for a look alike.

    Why do civilians need military look a likes? I have no problem with law enforcements having what ever they need, but not civilians period.

    January 30, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  19. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    As I said before, the only reason why Americans are so obsessed with guns is simply because we are a nation of cowards. We have an intrinsic urge to possess guns because we're afraid of aliens, we're afraid of big foot, we're afraid of greezly bears, we're afraid of Blacks, we're afraid of Hispanics, we're afraid of Asians and the insanity goes on and on and on. And this is the same "home of the brave" society that was once terrified by a diminutive African-American woman who sat harmlessly on a bus in Montgomery Alabama in 1954 and the same society that was once terrified by a young pastor from Atlanta Georgia who strived for racial justice and equality through non-violent means. Attorney General Eric Holder once said we're a nation of cowards and you know what??? He's right, we're a nation of COWARDS.

    January 30, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  20. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    @ Rudy NYC

    Yes, but the Reagan tragedy didn't quite hit home for republicans simply because Reagan and Brady were not one of their family members. There's a big difference.

    January 30, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  21. UDidntBuildThat

    rs-Ummm, no, actually. I was referring to the NRA and "do Nothing" Republicans.
    ____
    Ummmmm, u do realize that a boat load of Dems carry guns. Obama's problem with gun control legislation is coming fr within his own party. Harry Reid get's his bread buttered nicely fr the NRA as do many Dems who are up for re-election and fear support any gun control. So u might want to do a little research other than what the liberal media is feeding u.

    Case in pt. this legislation they are currently debate was opened up for revisions by not just other members of Congress but special interest groups like the NRA. Now who would do such a thing that goes agains our great Lord and Savior Obama? None other than Dirty Harry Reid himself. Secondly, this legisation does nothing to prevent the Elem. School Shooting in CT. Research it, all u low infomation voters. Stop acting like sponge sucking up the Dem's & their liberal media's countenance.

    January 30, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  22. J Russ

    do it the correct way, amend the constitution

    January 30, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  23. Facts don't Lie

    the NRA seems to me to have something I often accuse my teenage son of having and that is "selective hearing". Countless times I have heard the president and different Democrats say that they are NOT against the 2nd amendment and support the right of responsible Americans to own firearms and have NO plans to take anyone's guns, yet the NRA never comments on those words. Then again maybe it's the word responsible that they don't like since they feel anybody should be able to buy and own a firearm. Besides if they did echo word for word what the president has said it would go against their plan of fear which keeps their supporters under their control.

    January 30, 2013 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  24. Rudy NYC

    Darkseider wrote:

    .... He regards failed parenting, lack of personal responsibility and civility as the problems as well as a poor mental health system. That is an honest man and a brave man for speaking the truth during his time of grief. Truth will always shine through and I thank Mr. Matiolli for being brave enough to speak it.
    -------------------------------
    Noble words. Unfortunately, the NRA is against all of it. They oppose background checks, closing the gun show loop hole, and holdling gun owners responsible for what happens to their weapons after they are purchased.

    January 30, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  25. Tommy Boy

    Dear Congresswoman Giffords,

    We, the United States of America, as a society, have forfeited our "right" to keep and bear arms. The bullet-ridden scars of history prove that. I do not think for one dilusional moment that our founding fathers had any inkling of the future inventions of high caliber, high capacity, high body count arms that we have at our disposal today. Perhaps if we were still limited to a single shot musket or cannon we could "keep and bear arms", but AR-15's and its cousins? The sole purpose of these weapons is to inflict as much damage in as little amont of time as possible on fellow human beings.....period. Just take them, PLEASE, for our own good. Thank you.

    January 30, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
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