Gabby Giffords’ Husband Mark Kelly Buys Assault Weapon in Tuscon
Former Rep. Gabby Giffords has been an outspoken advocate for more gun control measures. In order to demonstrate the cursory nature of background checks, her husband Mark Kelly bought an AR-15 assault rifle in Tuscon, Ariz. The check reportedly only took a matter of minutes.
Kelly, a retired space shuttle commander, later told Wolf Blitzer on CNN that it was "important for me to have firsthand knowledge about how easy it is or difficult it is to buy a weapon like that."
Kelly posted on Facebook that he would turn the weapon into the police department once he obtained it. "Looks like the judiciary committee will vote on background checks next week," Kelly wrote. Gun control legislation is up for a vote at a Senate panel 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 added.
His post garnered nearly 4,000 Facebook comments of both support and criticism.
New York Senator Charles Schumer has brought a bill for more demanding background checks before the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will also consider a ban on assault weapons brought forward by California Senator Dianne Feinstein. The ban would outlaw the AR-15 as well as other military-style weapons.
The AR-15 is one of the top-selling firearms in the country. The gun was used in the December mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Advocates for the gun say that its accuracy make it a safe weapon, while gun law advocates say American citizens have no need for such a powerful rifle.
The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill last week cracking down on gun trafficking and straw purchases. However Republicans and Democrats are at a standstill when it comes to background checks, an issue which formerly appeared to have bipartisan support.
While Republicans support more mental health information being included in background checks for potential gun buyers, they have also raised concerns over these records being kept on responsible gun owners.
Kelly wrote on his Facebook page, that it is "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.
Bipartisan discussion has failed to close the “gun show loophole,” which allows the public to buy guns without a background check.
Last week, Giffords attended a gun control rally in Tuscon with her husband, in the same place where she was shot in the head during an assassination attempt in 2011 that left 6 dead.
She has urged lawmakers to, "Be bold. Be courageous. Please support background checks."