Mark Kelly to CNN: He and Giffords used NRA practice range
January 29th, 2013
04:10 PM ET
1 year 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. Ben

    I suppose that many of the comments posted here are really just for shock value and even the writers don't believe them.

    However, what I discern is the following: Those favoring gun control disregard the obvious fact that if any gun control gets through Congress is will be struck down by a Supreme Court that opposes almost all gun control. Those favoring gun control also need to learn about guns so they don't get ridiculed for their ignorance of guns when they misidentify a particular kind of gun (i.e., the difference between a semi-automatic shotgun and a semi-automatic handgun). The guns that are truly destructive are handguns, and the Supreme Court has already protected them. Having said this, we all need to look for different ways to reduce gun violence - because banning a few "assault" weapons is not going to do it. And third, those promoting gun control must acknowledge that most private gun owners, such as myself, are responsible and reasonable, and that guns are not "just" for killing.

    Those opposed to new gun control need to quit their hypocritical and histrionic approach to the topic of gun control. First, we already have gun control - civilians cannot purchase truly automatic weapons. this has been established law for almost 80 years. Second, despite this EXISTING gun control, we still elect our leaders - and have been doing so for 1/3 of the life of the American Republic. Individual possession of the most lethal weapons is not THE safeguard of democracy - our paranoid fantasies, not withstanding. Third, those opposed to new gun control must acknowledge that possession of guns enables violence. It's a fact - social science overwhelming demonstrates that privately-owned handguns are more likely to be used against a family member than against an intruder. And therefore, we, as gun owners, have a vested interest in working with everyone, even if we don't like their politics, to reduce the likelihood of misuse of our guns.

    January 30, 2013 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  2. Wake up People!

    Nothing is going to be done. More and more guns on the street and more mass killings because the NRA is all about the almighty dollar, however they have managed to fool their supporters into thinking it's about gun rights. Lord knows certain groups have been preparing for a r@ce war since the 60's. These idiots won't be satisfied until everyone over the age of 2 is armed. They've already started arming schools in the republican areas in Michigan.

    January 30, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  3. Martoon

    The NRA is not against background checks. They supported the creation of the NICS. They are guarding against the politicians (read "liars") using this opportunity to create a federal database of gun owners which could be misused in the future to confiscate all guns ala Hitler, Stalin, etc. Under the NICS, the records stay with the seller for 20 years and the feds know only that a background check was made (unless they go to the FFL and look it up in the "bound book". Clearly, banning assault rifles wouldn not have prevented Sandy Hook because he never used the assault rifle in his trunk - so why the rush to ban assault rifles? Because the real agenda is to disarm America. If Washington cared a lick about our kids, the NICS would be (1) 100% funded (2) up to date and (3) all mentally disturbed people would be listed there.

    January 30, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  4. UDidntBuildThat

    Rudy NYC-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.
    ___________________________________
    U might want to stop watchin PMSNBC so much. Haven't u figured out that they actually lie to the public? The NRA guy never opposed any background check ever. His words were they were all for it. Why don't u research your story and stop perpetuating the liberal lies!

    January 30, 2013 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  5. Chipster

    The NRA suggests having armed security in our schools, also arming teachers and other school officials. I wonder if the NRA will support an additional $50 or $100 per gun annual fee to cover the cost of the additional security. Teachers don't earn enough already for all that they do. I wonder how many teachers will quit rather than go "packing" to school. The 2nd Amendment to the Constitution is not threatened at all by requiring background checks to ensure that people with outstanding warrants will be less likely to get their hands on a weapon. Practically everyone in my family owns guns and hunts for sport and food. Surprise! Liberals own guns too! The NRA promotes gun sales, not constitutional rights.

    January 30, 2013 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  6. rs

    J Russ

    do it the correct way, amend the constitution
    _______________
    Probably correct. Having said that however, the beauty of the Constitution and the Bill of Right is its lack of specificity. Thus any amendment would have to be just as generic in describing possible limitations. Aside from the inevitable possible decades such an amendment might take (especially with special interests like the NRA at hand), plus years of court interpretaion, many perhaps thousands will die needlessly in the interim.

    January 30, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  7. RedPriest1

    A house divided surely will not stand. Look at yourselves folks! On every article you're at each others throats. It doesn't even need to be a politicle article...you turn it into one. It's classic divide and conguer and both sides are falling iright in to it. The Dems remind me of that little kid in the cartoon where he sticks his little hand in the lions and teases the lion, because he thinks the cage is protection, and returns with bloody nub and and a suprised look on his face. Stupid to pick a fight with the armed side of America. Duh!

    January 30, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  8. rs

    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.
    ___________________
    Indeed, nothing drives the point home more than being the victim of gun violence. Once again, these priviledged few who don't live in slums, or out in the sticks with local militias don't see the violence first hand. They have their walled communities, personal security that keep THEM safe.

    January 30, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  9. ritmocojo

    Watching the father of the 6 year-old boy that died at the Newtown school shooting getting heckled by NRA supporters was the last straw for me. My NRA membership will expire without renewing and no more support for any GOPers.

    January 30, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  10. FoolKiller

    "civilians cannot purchase truly automatic weapons"
    Wrong.
    Tired of explaining why... Google "Class III Dealer"

    January 30, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    "The NRA is not against background checks. "

    LaPierre just finished testifying before the Senate that background checks are all a waste of time and that we shouldn't even be bothering with them at all.

    January 30, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  12. chuck

    THE NRA ARE ONLY ABOUT MONEY. THE CEOS ARE SCARED TO LOSE THEIR MONEY..THIS IS ONE BATTLE THE GOP/NRA WILL LOSE....Sandy Hook was the last straw people.

    January 30, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  13. Chipster

    @UDidntBuildThat
    No, that is NOT the reason Kerry's boat was in Rhode Island. The boat Kerry purchased was in need of maintenance that required more than 6 months to perform. He registered the boat in RI while it was there for service. MA didn't require taxes to be paid on the products registered 6 mos. or more before the item is relocated to MA. Kerry notified the MA dept. of revenue that he would pay the taxes in MA, even though he wasn't required to do so. This is just another example of the right-wing habit of taking a grain of truth and turning it into a great American novel of false information.

    January 30, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  14. AZ Girl

    To all you people out there spouting "What part don't you understand about 'shall not be infringed'" I say, what about the "well regulated" part? What Mr. Kelly said this morning was balanced and thoughtful. Which sadly means everyone will jump ALL over him. I can't WAIT for him to run his campaign! It's a comin!

    January 30, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  15. FoolKiller

    "Gabby and I are of the opinion that semi automatic assault weapons should be left for the military to use"
    Why? They don't use nor want them. They insist on selective fire weapons (capable of fully automatic or burst fire).
    But semi-automatics do LOOK like them, and thus frighten the ignorant. Sad to see who falls into this category, or worse, pretends ignorance to perpetuate same.

    January 30, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  16. The Other Bob

    Ben

    ... will be struck down by a Supreme Court that opposes almost all gun control...
    ________________________________________________________________________________________________
    That is simply not true. COmplete bans have been struck down, but partial bans and other measures usually have not.

    January 30, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    UDidntBuildThat wrote:

    "Rudy NYC-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."

    U might want to stop watchin PMSNBC so much. Haven't u figured out that they actually lie to the public? The NRA guy never opposed any background check ever. His words were they were all for it. Why don't u research your story and stop perpetuating the liberal lies!
    ---------------------
    I'm sorry, but I have no idea of what you're referring to. The "NRA guy", LaPierre, has been quite clear in that he opposes closing the gun show loop hope that circumvents normal background checks. He says it won't help stop the type of violence that occurred in CT.

    January 30, 2013 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  18. The Real Tom Paine

    -UDidntBuildThat

    Rudy NYC-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.
    ___________________________________
    U might want to stop watchin PMSNBC so much. Haven't u figured out that they actually lie to the public? The NRA guy never opposed any background check ever. His words were they were all for it. Why don't u research your story and stop perpetuating the liberal lies!
    ******************
    Its also way too easy to regurgitate the FOX News talking points, as you have demonstrated so well. The NRA has changed its positions on background checks, as well as the whole issue of private sales of guns. They have opposed them reflexively as others, whom the NRA has decided to label as their enemies, embrace the positions of the NRA. What the NRA does is nothing more than a dance designed to delay any meaningful action from taking place. Look at the history of what they do, and how they operate, before you reflexively parrot back the words you have been told to utter.

    January 30, 2013 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  19. JD

    Boy, this country is really messed up... Where has the moderation and compromise to work issues gone in this country??? It matters not if it's about guns, the budget, immigration, etc...nothing will ever get accomplished until we come together as a nation. As of now, I don't see this happening...

    January 30, 2013 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  20. CHrisINF

    It is a real shame that people in the country see themselves as Democrats or Republicans instead of Americans. People in our country have become so polarized that they are no longer truly concerned about the greater good for the country as a whole, instead the mentality is "us against them". If you allow a government (any government) to take away your basic freedoms you slowly descend into servitude. Never mind the gun control issue, has everbody already forgotten that due process of law was taken away from all of us last year by both houses and the President?! If it doesn't bother you that this administration, with the help of politicians from both parties have made it possible to detain any US citizen indefinitely without charge and now they want to impose gun control...then I'm afraid you have a serious problem because that is not what this country is supposed to be about.

    January 30, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  21. The Other Bob

    Martoon

    ...confiscate all guns ala Hitler...
    _____________________________________________________________________________________________
    Hitler only confiscated weapons from Jews, and actually relaxed the harsh gun laws imposed following Germany's defeat after WW 1 for everyone else. Yes, I do know what happened to the Jews.

    January 30, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  22. marty

    While watching the gun debate on C-Span, I couldn[t help but compare two personalities, Mark Kelly and Wayne La Pierre, and their contributions to our society. One dedicated his life to scientific endeavors and discoveries for the betterment of his fellow countrymen. One dedicates his life to sales, the selfish procurement of an instrument designed to kill. One wants some form of gun control, the other wants more guns. The differences are great, the choice is obvious.

    January 30, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  23. Ideas, Ideals, not ideologies

    @Ben 12:52 comment.
    You could not say it any better and that's the most reasonable and balanced approach to this issue. As legal and responsable gun owners it reflects poorly on the rest of us when guns obtained illegally

    January 30, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  24. Rudy NYC

    UDidntBuildThat

    Rudy NYC-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.
    ___________________________________
    U might want to stop watchin PMSNBC so much. Haven't u figured out that they actually lie to the public? The NRA guy never opposed any background check ever. His words were they were all for it. Why don't u research your story and stop perpetuating the liberal lies!
    ------------------------–
    This is directly from testimony given today by "the NRA guy" LaPierre.:

    Sen. Leahy asks the NRA's LaPierre about extending background checks, which are currently conducted on sales done by federally licensed dealers, but not on sales conducted by other sellers, such as in many auctions or in person-to-person sales. "If you're a dealer that's already a law," LaPierre said.

    Leahy was not satisfied by that answer. "Let's not play games here," he said, cutting off LaPierre.

    "I do not believe the way the law is now, unfortunately, that it does any good to extend the law to sales between hobbyists and collectors," LaPierre answered. His objections were that the current background check law was not being enforced adequately and "this administration is not processing the people that they catch."

    January 30, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  25. Drake

    I support gun ownership but NRA don't care about the second amendment. Don't kid yourself. The are all about supporting gun sales. The more they scare people the more gun sales rise and their donations balloon.
    Any responsible gun owner should recognize this and be for level-headed, reasonable control.
    No background checks at gun shows? How does this hurt responsible gun owners?

    January 30, 2013 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
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