December 12th, 2013
09:03 PM ET
1 year ago

Mark Kelly: No movement on gun control since Newtown

(CNN) – A prominent gun-control advocate says children are no safer today from gun violence than they were a year ago when a lone shooter killed 20 first graders at a Connecticut elementary school.

Mark Kelly, whose wife, former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, was severely wounded in a shooting in Arizona in 2011, told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Thursday the nation's conversation on gun control has stalled.

"Well, you know,” Kelly said ahead of the anniversary of the Newtown school massacre, “Saturday will be a year, and so far the national response to that horrific act and the situation we have in this country is basically to do nothing. So I would say that children are not safer in their schools.”

Kelly, who leads the anti-gun violence super PAC Americans for Responsible Solutions, said tightening gun laws “is a complex problem” that should be addressed.

“And Congress has yet to do that,” he said.

A CNN poll released earlier this month shows support for stricter gun laws fading since the Newtown tragedy jolted the nation. Some 49% were in favor, down 6 points from a CNN poll conducted a few weeks after the December 14 shooting that also killed six adults.

"Well, you know… Saturday will be a year and so far the national response to that horrific act. And the situation we have in this country is basically to do nothing. So I would say that children are not safer in their schools,’ he said.

But former Republican Congressman Asa Hutchinson, who now leads the National Rifle Association's school safety initiative, disagrees.

He told “The Situation Room” that the nation has made progress on gun safety.

"Virtually every state has looked at school safety legislation and has it introduced. You've had schools employ additional resources in terms of school resource officers and other protection for the children. They've increased technology as well so there is a safer response capability,” he said.

Newton prompted President Barack Obama and Democratic leaders to push for stronger federal background checks for gun purchases, but that proposal fell short in the Senate last April.

"But we certainly have learned that Congress said, despite a full court press by the President, that the answer is not gun control legislation," Hutchinson said.

But Kelly – a veteran, former astronaut and gun owner - said the NRA’s lobbying efforts kept gun-control legislation from advancing.

“I don't want to lay blame anywhere, but it is a reality that the gun lobby has an incredible amount of political influence with members of Congress in Washington. I mean, it's very clear that many members take their cues on this issue from the gun lobby," he said.

CNN Political Editor Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.


Filed under: Gun control • Mark Kelly • NRA
soundoff (54 Responses)
  1. Tony in Maine

    Nothing will change until Congress stops being afraid of Wayne LaPierre and Tea Partiers. I'm convinced that most in Congress are more concerned with keeping their job than with doing their job.

    December 12, 2013 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  2. Steve- Illinois

    Actually Mark, they take their cues on this issue from their constituents.
    Nice try though.

    December 12, 2013 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  3. Ed

    I agree, despite hundreds of idiotic laws being based in states like CA, CT, MD, NY, NJ, our children are no safer because these laws are not targeting the correct cause of the problem.

    December 12, 2013 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  4. Thomas

    Americans look at guns like jewelry .

    I think deep down we would like to walk around with a weapon like we were in a movie .

    it's become more of a fashion statement for those that have never smelled death .

    December 13, 2013 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  5. Whut

    Mark Kelly lost credibility he lied while trying to purchase an AR15. Furthermore, the types of stronger laws that he is advocating for should have made him a felon a few months ago.
    While at a gun show in central New York, Mr. Kelly illegally "possessed" a handgun without a New York permit, which is a felony. He did this right in front of the NY AG! There are even pictures of this fact. How can he advocate for stronger laws when he breaks them himself?!

    December 13, 2013 03:30 am at 3:30 am |
  6. Nathan

    Perhaps the voters understand that the problem is not guns but people? Politicians care about two things: election and reelection.
    The NRA has clout because many voters agree with them.

    December 13, 2013 04:53 am at 4:53 am |
  7. wireknob

    Mark Kelly continues to studiously avoid these points/questions about the proposed universal background check (UBC) legislation:

    1) There is both a significant financial cost (about $50 per check) and a burden in requiring law-abiding gun owners to run background checks on private firearm sales; in some places there are no licensed dealers anywhere in the area.

    2) How can you possibly enforce the UBC law without a national gun registry? How do you prove in a court of law that an illegal transaction took place if there is no record of ownership for each specific firearm?

    3) In several places where background checks are mandatory on various firearms purchases, the state has used background checks to delay lawful purchases for months, or even effectively deny them by slow-walking the process. In my county, a candidate for sheriff recently stated that he won't process applications for suppressors or automatic firearms because he personally doesn't agree with the right of law-abiding citizens to own them even though it is there right to own them so long as they go through the proper legal procedure.

    4) In several state/cities where gun registration is mandatory they are passing laws to ban commonly owned weapons and banning them from the jurisdiction (NYC is a recent example), forcing people to get rid of them, turn them in to the government, or mechanically alter them at significant expense.

    5) How exactly would these laws reduce crime? What is the argument, especially given that the laws are so easy for criminals to circumvent.

    It's not the few minutes it takes to conduct a background check in many places that it the concern. Nobody is complaining about that. The issues above are what concern law-abiding gun owners and those who care about protecting our rights from government overreach. And it has been proven again and again that government can not be trusted with power over our rights, and that government bureaucrats will use their power to violate rights that they personally disagree with.

    December 13, 2013 05:45 am at 5:45 am |
  8. Logictox

    Nothing in any of the laws proposed would have done anything to stop Newtown. Guns have been around this country for 225 years without the issues we have today. Guns are not the problem, it's the decay of our moral standards that are the problem. Video games that now offer hours and hours of nonstop killing. Movies that are ever more violent and crazy.

    December 13, 2013 06:35 am at 6:35 am |
  9. Marie MD

    I don't know much about guns, much less that killing machine that woman is holding, but it doesn't look like she knows what the heck she is doing.
    Don't they have a white gun to go with that cute little white top she's wearing?

    December 13, 2013 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  10. PaulG

    That's because, Mark Kelly, American neither wants nor believes gun control is the answer. How about criminal control and rebuilding our mental health infrastructure. How about addressing poverty, the single largest factor leading to the bulk of inner-city violence in the US and the disenfranchised section of population that comes with it. How about educating people how to safely handle and store firearms. Stop blaming the gun and start dealing with the causes that lead to violence.

    December 13, 2013 07:13 am at 7:13 am |
  11. Gurgyl

    USA needs total gun-ban. Period.

    December 13, 2013 07:17 am at 7:17 am |
  12. Bill Inaz

    "“I don't want to lay blame anywhere, but it is a reality that the gun lobby has an incredible amount of political influence with members of Congress in Washington. I mean, it's very clear that many members take their cues on this issue from the gun lobby..." [Kelly said]

    The NRA has, maybe, 5 million members. There are over 75,000,000 firearms owners spanning the spectrum of political affiliation. The frustration and dissonance Kelly simply cannot seem to shake is because he and others like him have chosen a bogeyman approach to the issue. In the end, to whom do you think the legislators listen? Some lobbyist or to the millions of those 'back home' that unlike the lobby, actually vote?

    December 13, 2013 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  13. JK

    Mark Kelly was caught trying to buy an assault rifle for himself while simultaneously pushing for legislation to ban them. Everything that comes out of his mouth is a lie. And the reason that congress hasn't passed more legislation is that more gun control only hurts law abiding citizens and does not address the problem of violent mentally ill people or repeat criminals.

    December 13, 2013 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  14. smith

    This guy needs to come back to earth and get off his high horse. We have thousands of laws relating to firearms and still we have gun violence. The cold hard truth is there are no solutions to violence. There are twisted people in the world and they will commit acts of violence.

    December 13, 2013 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  15. Rudy NYC

    "... ... si far the national response ... ... is basically to do nothing."
    ------------------------–
    Yeah, but the NRA and the gun huggers had an alternate solution. They rejected the mainstream solution in favor of their own, the 'Archie Bunker Solution', which says give everybody a gun. What happened to it? What happened to the right wing's legislation to fund putting armed guards into every school? What is the right doing besides hunkering down into a bunker at night?

    December 13, 2013 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  16. Kristi Wallace

    What do Newtown, Aurora, Oregon, Navy Yard, Columbine, Paducah have in common? They were all committed in "Gun Free" zones. Gun crimes committed by legal gun owners is statistically insignificant. Legal gun owners stop more crimes than commit them. If we would enforce the laws we already have, give help to the mentally ill, not allow mentally ill people to have access to guns, then our country would be safe.
    Chicago and DC have some of the strictest gun laws in the country, however they have the highest violent crime rate, that's because criminals are carrying guns and law abiding citizens are not.

    December 13, 2013 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  17. Rudy NYC

    Ed

    I agree, despite hundreds of idiotic laws being based in states like CA, CT, MD, NY, NJ, our children are no safer because these laws are not targeting the correct cause of the problem.
    --------------
    So what is the right wing doing about the problem. You say that it is mental health issue. Where is the right wing's legislation to address how they view the problem? What did you say? Oh, you cut the state's mental health budget. I see.

    December 13, 2013 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  18. Lefty left

    Ban guns, ban football, ban sports cars, ban making good money, ban success, raise taxes, subscribe to CNN

    December 13, 2013 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  19. jason

    Gun control is the silliest idea ever.... Molon labe!!!

    December 13, 2013 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  20. Rudy NYC

    Kristi Wallace

    Chicago and DC have some of the strictest gun laws in the country, however they have the highest violent crime rate, that's because criminals are carrying guns and law abiding citizens are not.
    -----------
    I'll have you know that most of your 'criminals carrying guns' in Chicago obtain their weapons from 'law abiding citizens' in the Chicago suburbs that have more relaxed gun laws than Chicago. The same holds true for DC, and most every urban area.

    December 13, 2013 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  21. Would You Look at That

    Tony in Maine said:
    Nothing will change until Congress stops being afraid of Wayne LaPierre and Tea Partiers. I'm convinced that most in Congress are more concerned with keeping their job than with doing their job
    -------------
    The second amendment has been law for over 222 years now... GET OVER IT

    December 13, 2013 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  22. Would You Look at That

    Rudy NYC said:
    I'll have you know that most of your 'criminals carrying guns' in Chicago obtain their weapons from 'law abiding citizens' in the Chicago suburbs that have more relaxed gun laws than Chicago. The same holds true for DC, and most every urban area.
    --------------
    I'll have you know that you are being very misleading... There are zero relaxed gun law in Illinois. If the criminals are getting their guns from people in the suburbs, assuming it's a private sale, the people in the suburbs HAVE to check if the purchaser has their FOID card. If they fail to check their FOID card, they are no longer law-abiding. Any person living in IL that wants to purchase a gun MUST apply for a FOID card. A FOID card is a "Firearm Owner I.D. card" – these are issued by the Illinois state police after all background checks have been cleared. Any registered dealer in Illinois must process a federal background check when selling a firearm, otherwise, they are no longer law-abiding, they risk losing their license, and risk going to prison. As of Jan 1, all private gun transactions must go through a federal background check as well. Do you live in IL?? Doubtful. It's best you not talk about something you know nothing about.

    December 13, 2013 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  23. Would You Look at That

    Gurgyl
    USA needs total gun-ban. Period.
    -------------
    The 2nd amendment isn't going anywhere... it has been law for more than 222 years now... DEAL WITH IT

    December 13, 2013 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  24. BriHudson

    A quick test to see if Liberal Democrats "actually" care about saving innocent lives being randomly taken early and violently, or do they simply have a uncontrolled, raging gun phobia:

    Numbers of senseless and violent deaths from a deadly machine being misused outside of established law =
    1.) guns – more than 3,000 deaths per year (non-suicide) – most of these are gang/drug related in Dem controlled cities.
    2.) cars – more than 38,000 deaths per year (non-weather/conditions related) – these aren't mere 'accidents' – they are careless transgressions of established traffic laws.

    Gee – one only has to look at the parking lot of your local bars to realize the wide availability of cars being used by those that drink, speed, text, or recklessly drive causes FAR more senseless carnage of innocent people than guns.

    December 13, 2013 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  25. Shuffler

    They have been working on mental health which was the issue in both cases referred to. We already have gun control. Just enforce the laws we have on the books. It is true the kids are no safer at newton now than they were, but that is because of gun control..... not the lack of it.

    December 13, 2013 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
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