Mark Kelly gun purchase stirs controversy

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

TUCSON, Ariz. — A new gun purchase by Gabby Giffords' husband Mark Kelly is stirring up some controversy.

Kelly said he bought an assault weapon in a Tucson gun store to make a point about the ease of background checks for gun buyers.

Kelly has been by Giffords' side, pushing for gun control legislation since the former Arizona representative was shot in the head in the Tucson massacre two years ago. So some wonder why he bought an assault rifle, the very weapon he supports banning?

Kelly says he was trying to prove a point. He says he originally went to the gun store to buy a .45 caliber handgun, which he plans to keep. But he says he plans to turn in the AR-15 rifle to Tucson police.

Conservative website questions Mark Kelly's gun purchase

"It's important for me to have firsthand knowledge about how easy it is or difficult it is to buy a weapon like that," says Kelly. "For a weapon that's so deadly, and really designed for the military especially with the high capacity magazines, it's a pretty easy thing to do, even with a background check."

The AR-15 rifle is among 157 military-style weapons that would be banned under a bill pending before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Meantime, the owner of the Tucson store where Kelly bought those guns is speaking out. He says they recognized the customer as Mark Kelly and they did their due diligence,  just like they would with anyone else.

"We were certainly wondering what his intent was," says store owner Douglas MacKinlay. "But it is not for us to question a customer, other than to question that they are a lawful purchaser and that they don't have any criminal intent to use that firearm."

In an interview with KTAR radio,  the gun store owner said they did check Kelly's license. At first, he only had a Texas license, and then came back with proof that he is an Arizona resident.

The AR-15 is among 157 military-style weapons that would be banned under a bill pending before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Kelly and Giffords are the founders of the Americans for Responsible Solutions gun control group. The pair has been touring the country in recent months, in support of expanded background checks for gun purchases.