Mark Kelly (By: Roberto Gonzalez, Getty Images News)
Catalina Camia, USA TODAY
Retired astronaut Mark Kelly, husband of former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, recently purchased an assault weapon to make a point about the ease of background checks for gun owners.
Kelly posted on his Facebook page on Friday that he bought an AR-15, one of the 157 military-style weapons that would be banned under a bill pending before the Senate Judiciary Committee. The panel is set to consider three gun bills on Tuesday, including the proposed assault weapons ban authored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.
"Even to buy an assault weapon, the background check only takes a few minutes," Kelly said. "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 loophole."
Kelly, who is also a retired Navy captain, and Giffords are both gun owners who have been outspoken about the need for new gun-control measures. Americans for Responsible Solutions, their super PAC, has been running ads featuring Giffords that tout the proposed assault weapons ban and universal background checks.
Kelly said on his Facebook page that he plans to give the AR-15 to the Tucson Police Department when he receives the weapon.
Giffords was shot in the head January 2011 in a Tucson rampage that left six people dead. President Obama and others have been pushing for new gun legislation in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., in December that left 20 students and six of their educators dead.