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. Daniel

    For those who are saying that the US Supreme Court will strike down any gun control, please remember what the District of Columbia opinion (written by Justice Scalia and four other conservative judges) actually says: "Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. From Blackstone through the 19th-century cases, commentators and courts routinely explained that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose....Although we do not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the Second Amendment, nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. We also recognize another important limitation on the right to keep and carry arms. Miller said, as we have explained, that the sorts of weapons protected were those “in common use at the time.” 307 U. S., at 179. We think that limitation is fairly supported by the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of “dangerous and unusual weapons.”

    The opinion clearly states that Congress can limit the type of weapons people may own and even prohibit the ownership of military-style weapons.

    January 30, 2013 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  2. what does NRA not understand about a "WELL REGULATED " militia?

    If the 2nd amendment gives us the right to own guns as part of a well regulated militia, the founding fathers clearly intended for the militia to be regulated by the government that established the militia. That means if the government does not think AK47s are needed by their militia, then the 2nd amendment gives the government the right/ responsibilty to ban that weapon.

    January 30, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  3. Nobody N. Particular

    Rudy NYC,

    You are incorrect in your assertion that the second amendment did not apply to individuals, it is very clear in the wording:
    A well regulated militia (read as well armed, not as regulated means today) being necessary to security of a FREE STATE, the RIGHT of the PEOPLE to KEEP and BEAR arms, SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED. Its pretty clear what the founding fathers envisioned, they felt that to ensure that citizens' rights are protect that the citizens must have the ability to stand up against abuse of authority, they needed the right to have weapons. Anyone who trust ANY GOVERNMENT is a fool, don't give the government any more power than you would want to see your political opponent have.

    January 30, 2013 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  4. The Real Tom Paine

    Martoon, ask yourself why Congress has not seen fit to fund the Registry, as well as fund mental health measures, etc? Because the NRA does not want them funded. The ATF has seen its budget steadily cut at the NRA's insistence, have you bothered to question that? I guess not. The NRA and its conservative supporters fdon't mind passing laws, but they do mind funding something that is not related to a tax cut.

    January 30, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  5. Terry

    I see where a 15-year old girl who sang at Obama's Inauguration last week wast just killed in the crossfire between some thugs in Chicago. As mindlessly tragic as that is, it pails in comparison with the fact that seven people were murdered in gun violence in Chicago last Saturday.
    I will repeat again, Chicago is run by the bluest of Democrats and has some of the strictest gun control laws in the United States and all of this has made no difference whatsoever. Somehow the Liberals will try to blame the NRA for this too.

    January 30, 2013 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  6. The Real Tom Paine

    -Terry

    I see where a 15-year old girl who sang at Obama's Inauguration last week wast just killed in the crossfire between some thugs in Chicago. As mindlessly tragic as that is, it pails in comparison with the fact that seven people were murdered in gun violence in Chicago last Saturday.
    I will repeat again, Chicago is run by the bluest of Democrats and has some of the strictest gun control laws in the United States and all of this has made no difference whatsoever. Somehow the Liberals will try to blame the NRA for this too.
    ****************
    The NRA helped to overturn a local law that was reducing gun violance, so, yes, we can blame them.

    January 30, 2013 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  7. Terry

    The NRA helped to overturn a local law that was reducing gun violance, so, yes, we can blame them.
    -------------------------------–
    I figured you would. Blaming someone else is common trait among Liberals.

    January 30, 2013 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    Nobody N. Particular

    Rudy NYC,

    You are incorrect in your assertion that the second amendment did not apply to individuals, it is very clear in the wording:
    A well regulated militia (read as well armed, not as regulated means today) being necessary to security of a FREE STATE, the RIGHT of the PEOPLE to KEEP and BEAR arms, SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED. Its pretty clear what the founding fathers envisioned, they felt that to ensure that citizens' rights are protect that the citizens must have the ability to stand up against abuse of authority, .....
    ---------------
    I never wrote anything remotely suggesting that the 2nd Amendment does not apply to individuals. What I wrote is that the 2nd Amendment guarantees the right of ALL citizens "shall not be infringed" to "bear arms" so that they may participate in the "well regulated militia", which is "necessary to the security of a free State".

    It is a guarantee that ALL citizens can participate in the national militia without exclusion. It guarantees that citizens have the right to bear arms for the purpose of defending the security of the state.

    Furthermore, the SCOTUS has already ruled that your personal right to bear arms is guaranteed, but that the government also has the duty to regulate that right. Free, unlimited and unrestricted access to weapons has consequences. Why make it so easy for the "bad guys" to get deadly weapons in the first place?

    January 30, 2013 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  9. Seth Hill

    Whenever this topic comes up, there are always a flood of comments like "Cars kill more people than guns," "The 2nd Amendment gives me the right to own whatever guns I want," "If more people carried, the bad guys will get taken down before they can hurt so many people," "Liberals want to take away all our guns so they can set up a dictatorship," etc., etc. But the truth is, a non-gun owner like me feels vulnerable all the time; when will some gun nut start blazing way and kill me or my children? Can you gun-owners suggest anything at all that will make me feel safer?

    January 30, 2013 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  10. Smitty

    This is all political theatre. At the hearing today, family members of victems of gun violence were in the audience and one of the senators made sure everyone knew it. Why not have the 84yr old man in attendance who stopped a home invasion by having a gun? Because that is not part of the script. Senate hearings should be used for "important" things like steroids in baseball right? Better yet, how about a hearing on term limits and congressional reform? Don't hold your breath for that one.

    January 30, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  11. Lynda/Minnesota

    "But these days, they disagree more than they agree."

    Very understandable. Had I been shot in the head, no doubt I'd see the NRA lobbying effort in a "new" light too. I am truly thankful for a father who had a healthy respect for guns ... and his willingness to extend that respect (and gun ownership responsiblity) to his children. Just because we have a "right" to own something doesn't neccesarily mean we are (all) responsible enough to handle that right.

    But, NRA membership? No .... I'll pass, thank you.

    January 30, 2013 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  12. Larry L

    @Nobody N. Particular

    Rudy NYC,

    "Its pretty clear what the founding fathers envisioned, they felt that to ensure that citizens' rights are protect that the citizens must have the ability to stand up against abuse of authority, they needed the right to have weapons. Anyone who trust ANY GOVERNMENT is a fool, don't give the government any more power than you would want to see your political opponent have."
    =============================================================================================== If what you are saying is true Tim McVeigh, Lee Harvy Oswald, sirhan sirhan, Ted Kaczynski, and Nidal Hasan were patriots simply exercising their 2nd Amendment "rights". They considered the government oppressive, took up arms and "stood up against the abuse of authority". So you're saying they were constitutionally justified?

    January 30, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  13. Old Shoe

    We are all taking about the ramifications of these new proposed gun laws in regards to the 2nd amendment, but very few people take notice of the 3rd amendment: "No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law." It's not by coincidence that these two amendments are back to back and people think this amendment was only important when this amendment was written, but that's not true. The 2nd amendment is very important in relation to this 3rd amendment, because the second amendment is insurance for the 3rd. Soldiers in England were tyrants in private homes, seizing and eating the food, leaving very little for the home owner and treating private citizens like slaves and soldiers having their way with the wives and daughters of the home owners. People can say all they want about how our government won't take away our rights, but our government is trying to do that very thing only in increments. Personal security is and should be a personal choice and that is why Thomas Jefferson was very vocal about private citizens ability to protect themselves against government. Thomas Jefferson warned in several instances against trusting government for protection, Inch by inch Americans have lost freedoms, in bills disguised as "protection", and such things happened in Thomas Jeffersons day under King George. Soldiers were housed in private homes under the guise of "protection", when in reality is was about control. Our government is trying to disarm us in the guise of protection and a disarmed population is very easily controlled. Hitler knew this and was responsible for millions of deaths, Stalin knew this and was responsible for millions of deaths, Mao Tse Tung knew this and was responsible for millions of deaths. See the pattern?

    January 30, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  14. Carl Monday

    Mr. Kelly space travel is your specialty not firearms. First of all assault weapons are not Semi-Automatic, they are fully automatic, hence the name assault rifle. Semi-Automatic weapons are what civilians own. I am retired military, current federal detective, and respect you and your spouse deeply, however; semi-automatic weapons are also little 22 rifles that kids have been using to kill sqiurels with. The AR is no different, one trigger pull, one shot. The M-16 is an assault rifle and is fully automatic, those stays only in the arms of law enforcement and military, people are not running around with them. The AR15 looks like a M16 but does not function like one, it functions the same as any semi-auto pistol or semi-auto hunting rifle. Criminals don't follow gun laws, so gun laws only impact law abiding citizens, the 2nd amendment was designed to allow us to protect ourselves against invaders and criminals and we should be allowed to own legally the weapons that they would attack us with illegally. That is the purpose of the 2nd ammendment. The push should be to keep weapons out of the hands of the mentally ill. It is very obvious that the man that harmed your family, the man that killed the school children and the man that killed people at the movie theatre were all mentally ill, and should never been allowed to possess a weapon. Perhaps if guns laws were more favorable to citizens, a law abiding citizen with a CWP may have been able to stop any one or all three of the shootings. I think that would have had more impact, than making gun laws more strict than they already are. Lastly, I do wish the best for your wife, she is an amazing person and a real inspiration for many people. I am thankful that she is doing well towards her path to recovery. Just wanted you to understand the other side.

    January 30, 2013 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  15. rs

    Old Shoe-
    Yes, I see the pattern. With the opinions you express, you probably shouldn't be trusted with firearms.

    January 30, 2013 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    @NOBODY N. PARTICULAR: With the last few words of your statements describing the 2nd amend, about not letting the Government (Any) have more power then the people, are you saying that WE the People should have equal, if not better weapons then our military? guess its time to run up to the armory and get myself a m-60, a few belts of ammo, and bunker down.

    January 30, 2013 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    Carl Monday

    Mr. Kelly space travel is your specialty not firearms. First of all assault weapons are not Semi-Automatic, they are fully automatic, hence the name assault rifle. Semi-Automatic weapons are what civilians own. I am retired military, current federal detective, and respect you and your spouse deeply, however; semi-automatic weapons are also little 22 rifles that kids have been using to kill sqiurels with. The AR is no different, one trigger pull, one shot.
    ---------------------
    Oh, please. Flip a switch and the Bushmaster fires three rounds per pull.

    January 30, 2013 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  18. Adam

    Yes thats great and I understand. By the time they are through with all the speeches I will own every gun I want that could possibly be banned as I am very close now. I will never register any of my guns and since I am shooting at my own properties who will ever know so take a flying leap.You Nanny staters bow to your master Obama and have a nice day...

    January 30, 2013 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  19. norma jean

    When we reach a point where the ownership of an assault rifle is more important than the death of 20 chlldren....the whole scene has gone too far. Time for some very strong rullings on gun ownership....Believe me guys.....it isn't the gun that makes you a "man"....!...It is a lot easier to control guns than it is to keep track of people who shouldn't own them...You can't regulate people but you can regulate gun ownership!!!!!!!!!

    .

    January 30, 2013 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  20. The Real Tom Paine

    @ Adam,

    Since you obviously don't want to follow the original intent of the Second Amendment, which was to keep yourself in readiness should your country need to, you can take a flying leap, and take your hoard of weapons with you.

    January 30, 2013 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  21. UDidntBuildThat

    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.
    ____________________________
    Oh wow listen to th apologist for the liberal rich. Yeah it was in need or maintenance, blah. REally it was registered in RI for years so give me a break! and there is no exception when a Repub avoid taxes for whatever reason. So no need to apply them here.
    From the Boston Herald themsevles
    "Sen. John Kerry, who has repeatedly voted to raise taxes while in Congress, dodged a whopping six-figure state tax bill on his new multimillion-dollar yacht by mooring her in Newport, R.I."
    If the boat was new how come it needed repairs? Or who buys a brand new yacht in need of repairs?
    boy u libs make excuses for your own and nail a repub. for doing less.

    January 30, 2013 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  22. ThinkAgain: What is it about "well regulated" that you don't get?

    @Daniel: Thank you so much for your post! Gun-rights advocates need to start thinking more subtly, with an eye to not only historical precedence, but common sense, as well.

    January 30, 2013 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  23. The Real Tom Paine

    Adam, the SCOTUS decision in the DC gun case clearly lays out a right for Congress to regulate firearms, so your defiance, while amusing, is pointless. This is a decision written by the five Conservative Justices, which reads as follows: "Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. From Blackstone through the 19th-century cases, commentators and courts routinely explained that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose....Although we do not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the Second Amendment, nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. We also recognize another important limitation on the right to keep and carry arms. Miller said, as we have explained, that the sorts of weapons protected were those “in common use at the time.” 307 U. S., at 179. We think that limitation is fairly supported by the historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of “dangerous and unusual weapons.”

    In other words, Congress can do what it wants, since your right to carry does not overrride everything else. Tough luck, but I think Antonin Scalia is a better authority on this than whomever wrote the latest piece of NRA fundraising.

    January 30, 2013 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  24. The Real Tom Paine

    -Old Shoe

    We are all taking about the ramifications of these new proposed gun laws in regards to the 2nd amendment, but very few people take notice of the 3rd amendment: "No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law." It's not by coincidence that these two amendments are back to back and people think this amendment was only important when this amendment was written, but that's not true. The 2nd amendment is very important in relation to this 3rd amendment, because the second amendment is insurance for the 3rd. Soldiers in England were tyrants in private homes, seizing and eating the food, leaving very little for the home owner and treating private citizens like slaves and soldiers having their way with the wives and daughters of the home owners. People can say all they want about how our government won't take away our rights, but our government is trying to do that very thing only in increments. Personal security is and should be a personal choice and that is why Thomas Jefferson was very vocal about private citizens ability to protect themselves against government. Thomas Jefferson warned in several instances against trusting government for protection, Inch by inch Americans have lost freedoms, in bills disguised as "protection", and such things happened in Thomas Jeffersons day under King George. Soldiers were housed in private homes under the guise of "protection", when in reality is was about control. Our government is trying to disarm us in the guise of protection and a disarmed population is very easily controlled. Hitler knew this and was responsible for millions of deaths, Stalin knew this and was responsible for millions of deaths, Mao Tse Tung knew this and was responsible for millions of deaths. See the pattern?
    **************
    Another person who misquotes Jefferson. Jefferson was not even part of the conversation when the Constitution was being written: he was too busy enjoying a front-row seat in Paris during the Terror, buying up furniture and books at bargain prices while the owners were being guillotined. There are sites that have been set up to debunk quotes attributed to Jefferson, of which your's is one. Nice try, though.

    January 30, 2013 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  25. ThinkAgain: What is it about "well regulated" that you don't get?

    Did you hear? In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee today, NRS CEO Wayne LaPierre warned that the NRA would vigorously oppose any legislation that “limits the sale, purchase, or ownership of politicians.”

    That's what REALLY has his knickers in a knot!

    January 30, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
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