Mark Kelly, husband of former Representative Gabrielle Giffords, says gun background checks must be included in any new legislation concerning the sale of firearms.
In a televised interview with Fox News‘ Chris Wallace (viewable below), Kelly said excluding universal background checks from new laws would be a “mistake,” though he also backed the NRA’s bid to keep guns from the mentally ill. Kelly told Fox:
“I think any bill that does not include a universal background check is a mistake. It’s the most common sense thing we can do to prevent criminals and the mentally ill from having access to weapons.”
Kelly added that such background checks could have prevented the 2011 Tucson shooting in which Giffords was critically injured in an assassination attempt by Jared Lee Loughner. Six other people were killed in the shooting.
A new bill is currently being drafted by Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley but would not include such background checks.
Kelly also reminded Wallace that polls consistently produce high levels of support for background checks included in many states with notable opponents to the measure. A poll in Senator Marco Rubio’s state of Florida found 91 percent support for such checks.
Though reluctant to praise the NRA, Kelly did agree with the organization’s campaign to prevent the mentally ill from acquiring firearms. Had Loughner’s mental health records been in the system, argued Kelly, he would have been unable to buy a gun. Kelly said: “[The NRA] absolutely have a point. They are right on that issue. We need to encourage states to include the mental health record.”
Are you a supporter of background checks for gun sales, or do you agree with the NRA that such checks punish law-abiding gun owners? Let us know in the comments!