Retired U.S. Naval Captain Mark Kelly logged over 50 days in space as a NASA shuttle pilot, but stepped into headlines more recently with his moderate stance on gun control.
Kelly spoke to the press Monday, March 11, at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall about supporting the right to bear arms and the need pass mental background checks.
“The status quo doesn’t really work any more,” he says. “ ... We have to do something.”
It’s a cause with which he’s personally connected.
In January 2011, at a quarterly meeting his wife U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and 18 others were shot at a Safeway supermarket in Tucson, Ariz. Six died, but Giffords survived. According to Kelly, she’s been working very hard and is on the right trajectory toward a full recovery.
“It’s not what I wanted to do. It’s not what Gabby wanted to do either,” he says about speaking publically about gun control. “But when you have 20 first graders murdered in their classroom and we see these mass shootings time and time again, I think everybody has got to do something.”
His stance is that there should be some form of a universal background check. Kelly and Giffords are both gun owners and supporters of the second amendment.
“There are some common sense things we can do that won’t infringe on people’s rights that allows them to be sportsmen or hunters, or protect themselves in their homes,” he says.
Kelly believes passing a mental background check is the most positive opportunity to save lives. But he also suggests that a complicated issue requires a complicated solution, and mental health has something to do with it.
It’s an issue he’s still trying to fully understand.
“It’s hard for me to speak about buying an assault weapon when I’ve never done it,” he says. So he tried out the system by buying a gun and an assault rifle on March 5. He found it surprisingly easy.
He wanted to see the current background check system in place and see how difficult it is for someone to purchase an assault weapon. So he bought for himself and bought a .45 and an AR-15 assault rifle. He’s turning over the AR-15 to the Tucson Police Department.
“It shouldn’t be every weapon is available to every person with no restrictions,” he says.
Currently 2 Responses
- Is Captain Kelly suggesting that when he was sold an AR-15 and passed the required background check that the system did not work properly? Was it surprisingly easy because his name was not in the system as mentally unfit to own a gun? Is he mentally fit? If yes, maybe that is why it is easy for him to buy an AR-15.
We have a background check by law today
- “It shouldn’t be every weapon is available to every person with no restrictions,” he says.
Every weapon is not available to every person and restrictions already exist. There are over 2,200 laws regulating firearm purchases, sales, and ownership. Enforce the existing laws.
His purchase of the AR-15 conveniently became research after his hypocrisy was exposed.
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