March 11th, 2013
03:22 PM ET
1 year ago

Gabby Giffords' husband buys assault weapon

(CNN) – Mark Kelly, the husband of former Rep. Gabby Giffords and an outspoken advocate for new gun control measures, purchased an AR-15 assault rifle in Tucson recently as a demonstration of what he says are unobtrusive background checks.

The retired space shuttle commander wrote on his Facebook page he would turn in the weapon – which he said he hadn't yet obtained - to the city's police department.

"Looks like the judiciary committee will vote on background checks next week," Kelly wrote, referring to the Senate panel where gun control legislation is up for a vote this week.

"I just had a background check a few days ago when I went to my local gun store to buy a 45. As I was leaving, I noticed a used AR-15. Bought that too. Even to buy an assault weapon, the background check only takes a matter of minutes," he continued.

Later, on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer," Kelly said it was "important for me to have firsthand knowledge about how easy it is or difficult it is to buy a weapon like that."

The AR-15 is one of America's top-selling firearms, and has become a focus of the gun control debate after being used in a recent spate of mass shootings. One was used in the December massacre at a Connecticut elementary school. Advocates for tighter gun laws argue there's no need for Americans to own the powerful rifle, but the gun's proponents say the AR-15's accuracy makes it safe.

Aside from a measure bolstering background checks that's sponsored by New York Democrat Charles Schumer, the Senate Judiciary Committee this week will consider a ban on assault weapons that was introduced by California Democrat Dianne Feinstein, which would outlaw the AR-15 among a host of other military-style weapons.

Last week the judiciary panel approved a bill toughening laws on gun trafficking and straw purchases, but on the issue of background checks – which previously appeared poised for bipartisan support in the legislature – Republicans and Democrats have reached some sticking points.

Republicans on the Judiciary Committee have expressed support for expanding the scope of mental health information submitted to the federal background check system used by gun sellers, but some have expressed concern that records would be kept on responsible gun owners.

Bipartisan talks have also failed to reach a compromise that would address the "gun show loophole," which critics say provides an avenue for people who know they cannot pass a background check to obtain guns through private sales.

In his Facebook message about the AR-15 purchase, Kelly wrote it was "scary to think of people buying guns like these without a background check at a gun show or the Internet.

"We really need to close the gun show and private seller loop hole," he concluded.

He added on CNN that he was "looking forward at some point to buying a gun at a gun show, and also possibly selling a gun."

Last week, Giffords support for background checks alongside her husband at a gun control rally in Tucson, Arizona, the same place where an assailant shot her in the head.

The former congresswoman urged lawmakers to "Be bold. Be courageous. Please support background checks."

At the event, Kelly said his newly formed gun-control organization, Americans for Responsible Solutions, was sending a letter to U.S. Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake, both Arizona Republicans, urging them to support background-check legislation. McCain suggested last month that such legislation would have success in the Senate.

CNN's Tom Cohen contributed to this report.


Filed under: Gabrielle Giffords • Gun rights
soundoff (300 Responses)
  1. sonny chapman

    Now Gun Rights Advocates, proof, that Mark Kelly is a REAL MAN. Truth is, Biden is right. A shotgun with buckshot is the best protection in the event of a real life home security threat requiring use or threat of use of a firearm. Ina vehicle, a pistol is the best weapon. And the pistol doesn't have to have 3o shot capacity to do the job. Bottom Line, nobody NEEDS an Assault Rifle or 30 shot pistol for personal protection.

    March 11, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    It's way too easy to buy guns in many states, and Arizona is typical.

    The NRA assertion that "the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun" treats the sympton and completely ignores the problem. Suppose that you had too many deer getting through your fences and eating your garden. Would you then go out and bring some bears into your garden in order to keep out the deer?

    March 11, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  3. Sniffit

    This should be hilarious. That headline is clear as day click-bait for the Teatrolls. Let's see how fast they start screaming "hypocrite" because they read nothing else....

    March 11, 2013 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Just imagine. It requires less ID to purchase an AR-15 than it does to vote in many states. In fact, your gun license is a valid form of photo ID, but your voter registration card is not!

    March 11, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  5. The REAL Truth...

    He has to go thru a background check in AZ to buy a gun from a dealer?? Heavens above.. what next??
    Perhaps he should have gone to a gun show and made a private purchase. Then he'd be guaranteed NOT to have ANY background check required!!

    March 11, 2013 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  6. Jesus

    Sniffit ...

    You are absolutely correct ... Chris Plant was on the radio droning on and on about it today .. about how the "gun control nut Mark Kelly" bought an AR 15 "and is trying to say he did not" .. priceless

    March 11, 2013 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  7. Donna

    sonny chapman
    Truth is, Biden is right. A shotgun with buckshot is the best protection in the event of a real life home security threat requiring use or threat of use of a firearm. Ina vehicle, a pistol is the best weapon.
    ====

    Many women would have a problem handling and firing a 12 guage shotgun. The weight and kickback are too much for many. A pistol is perfect for them under most scenarios. Biden doesn't know what he is talking about.

    And the pistol doesn't have to have 3o shot capacity to do the job. Bottom Line, nobody NEEDS an Assault Rifle or 30 shot pistol for personal protection.
    ======

    Who are YOU or anybody else to decide how much protection I need or may need in the future? You do realize that it usuallly takes more than one bullet to stop a large man unless you hit them in the correct location? Should should we limit magazines to 5 shots and expect everybody to a perfect marksman, and mandate that only one criminal may attack a person at a time on any given day? You gun control nuts are so ridiculous.

    March 11, 2013 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  8. The Real Tom Paine

    Ted Nugent can't buy one like that: he's broken too many game laws in AK.

    March 11, 2013 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  9. David ATL

    "We really need to close the gun show and private seller loop hole," he concluded.
    Agreed.
    And we also need to aggressively prosecute straw buyers.
    Many of us are concerned that the existing gun laws are not being enforced.

    March 11, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  10. Pete

    Gabbys husband buying the rifle to curb the coyotes near their ranch,got a problem with that you republican lap dogs,both nasty breeds we don't need around here either!!

    March 11, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  11. Steve

    "Would you then go out and bring some bears into your garden in order to keep out the deer?"

    No, I'd shoot them with my firearm.

    "nobody NEEDS an Assault Rifle or 30 shot pistol for personal protection."

    Fine, take them away from cops and the military too, if it's not needed.

    If they DO need those, then why don't I, considering they deal with the same people I do? I don't have a different form of criminals than they do.

    March 11, 2013 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  12. WouldYouLookAtThat

    Rudy, just what "gun license" are you referring to? Illinois has the FOID (Firearm Owner's I.D.) card, issued by the state police, and it does not qualify as a proper form of ID except for buying a gun. You cannot enter a casino, buy beer, etc... using a FOID card. You can only buy firearms and ammo using said FOID card.

    In regards to the "background checks." The idea that background checks will curb violence is absurd. How many criminals do you think will abide by the background laws? I'll give you a clue... slim, to none.

    In response to the ingrate that posted a shotgun with buckshot is the best home defense weapon... I agree to a certain extent... however, a shotgun spread will hit more than the object you are targeting due to the spread of the shot. Contrary to popular belief, most 12 gauge shotguns are too heavy and long, particularly for females, to effectively protect themselves in their home with a shotgun. An AR-15, a short, compact carbine would be more effective, easier to maneuver, and easier to handle for a female protecting her and her family in the home. Buckshot is a rather heavy load and can easily knock an inexperienced shooter on the ground, cause them to lose control of the gun and drop it, etc... In close quarters like a hallway, buck shot will easily penetrate walls on both sides, potentially causing unintended collateral damage. Obviously a pistol is the best defense weapon for a car as shotguns, or even carbines and longer rifles are simply too long to maneuver in a vehicle. The fact is, most pistols come standard with a 14 to 19 round magazine capacity (for 9mm and .40 S&W calibers), and 8-10 round magazine capacity for the .45 ACP caliber. These are the three most popular handgun calibers on the market. Anything smaller than a 9mm (like a .380 auto) is often considered too small to incapacitate a human and is ill-advised for protection purposes.

    The idea that you, and other anti-gunners, feel you can have a monopoly on what the rest of us "need" is absurd. By the way, assault rifles are not on the streets or in the hands of ordinary gun owners. the 'AR' in AR-15 does not stand for assault rifle. Do your own research and figure that one out on your own. An 'assault rifle' is one used by primarily by the military and has a select-fire option consisting of 3-shot bursts or fully automatic.

    Rudy, if I had a 'deer problem' in my garden, and i was considered a 'landowner' in the state of IL (which I am), I would simply shoot the deer (and I have). In turn, not only would I save my garden, I would have meat in the freezer as well. Non-processed, delicious, lean and healthy venison!

    March 11, 2013 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    David ATL

    "We really need to close the gun show and private seller loop hole," he concluded.
    Agreed.
    And we also need to aggressively prosecute straw buyers.
    Many of us are concerned that the existing gun laws are not being enforced.
    -------------------
    Do you think the enforcement problem could have anything to do with the fact that ATF has had its' budget cut so severely during the Bush administration? Nah, couldn't be.

    March 11, 2013 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  14. President Obama For Sale: $500,000 or Best Offer (CASH preferred)

    So will all the crazy, drug riddled, dope smoking leftists be required to register with the government and get their names on a Do Not Sell To List?

    March 11, 2013 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  15. t

    ..better look out gun nutz........a SANE guy is packin'

    March 11, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  16. Rick McDaniel

    No one ever said the background checks were being handled well. Don't blame gun buyers.......blame Congress. They make the laws.

    March 11, 2013 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  17. Moose

    Isnt this the same jerk who kept punching holes in our ozone ?? im sorry about his wife, but this jidiot has got to go, typical B.S. he destroyed our ozone so just like any othe politicion, he distracts, any body come to mind ????

    March 11, 2013 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  18. Kimosabe

    "You gun control nuts are so ridiculous"
    You know what makes YOU sound ridiculous? Calling someone asking for responsible gun laws a gun control nut. Now, if he was calling for banning guns entirely or disarming people, then fine, he's a nut. But calling for reasonable clip sizes? Decrying the use of military grade weaponry?
    These are things most people agree on. I own several weapons, but none of them are assault rifles. If you feel scared and you have tons of guns, then your problem isn't not having enough guns. I'd seek help for your crippling paranoia

    March 11, 2013 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  19. The Real Tom Paine

    -Donna

    sonny chapman
    Truth is, Biden is right. A shotgun with buckshot is the best protection in the event of a real life home security threat requiring use or threat of use of a firearm. Ina vehicle, a pistol is the best weapon.
    ====

    Many women would have a problem handling and firing a 12 guage shotgun. The weight and kickback are too much for many. A pistol is perfect for them under most scenarios. Biden doesn't know what he is talking about.

    And the pistol doesn't have to have 3o shot capacity to do the job. Bottom Line, nobody NEEDS an Assault Rifle or 30 shot pistol for personal protection.
    ======

    Who are YOU or anybody else to decide how much protection I need or may need in the future? You do realize that it usuallly takes more than one bullet to stop a large man unless you hit them in the correct location? Should should we limit magazines to 5 shots and expect everybody to a perfect marksman, and mandate that only one criminal may attack a person at a time on any given day? You gun control nuts are so ridiculous.
    ********************
    Has it occurred to you that when you are randomly spraying rounds you could hit someone OTHER than your target? Even a trained marksman by your own admission, can miss: why should I be put at any more risk than neccessary? As for your calims that we are attempting to madate times and places for people to be attacked, don't be an ass. I stand more cance of being killed by a stray round from you than I do of being attacked in my home by your mythical hordes of home invaders. A shotgun will put someone down, period. I don't need a 60-round magazine

    March 11, 2013 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  20. Canuck

    America's gun fetish is simply bizarre.

    March 11, 2013 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  21. Pete

    @Donna,take a couple of zanexs to curb you jitters about guns..Why you're at it I'd advise you buying maybe a M107 ,50 cal.sniper rifle or AK 47 with about a thousand rounds like I have for my personal protection,can't ever have enough,bullet proof vest and grenades are handy too if you have a lot of annoying dogs or cats too bothering yah,never enough of those either and easy to throw.Get about 1000' of electrified fencing as well ,the aliens are coming!!Typical republican nut job !!

    March 11, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  22. Moose

    @ Rudy bull, bamamns people didnt need an I.D. to vote you are you trying to fool ????

    March 11, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  23. yolanda

    @Sniffitt....I thought that your post was spot on until I read the drivel posted by @Pete. I guess mindless vitriol spews from both sides of the argument.

    March 11, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  24. jane

    @Moose: Come back when you've learned to spell, write a decent sentence, and THINK.

    March 11, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  25. A-Rod

    So it is okay for him to own an AR-15 but the rest of America cannot.... Bull squat. I am sorry for what happened to his wife but they cannot be duplicitous.

    March 11, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
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