Mark Kelly's gun buy triggers Facebook firestorm

The husband of former US Rep. Gabrielle Giffords shows how easy it is to buy a military-style rifle. But walking out the store with that rifle isn't easy at all.

By Kim Peterson Mar 13, 2013 1:41PM
Mark Kelly in a Tuscon, Ariz., gun store (Captain Mark Kelly/Facebook)The photo itself is fairly mundane. Mark Kelly, the husband of former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, posted a picture Friday on Facebook (FB) of himself signing paperwork to buy a military-style rifle.

But that photo (pictured) has started a firestorm of debate, attracting more than 5,000 comments about gun control, the government, and politics. Many commenters called Kelly a hypocrite, while others cheered him on. The discussion comes as Congress pushes forward with legislation mandating stricter background checks for gun purchases.

In his posting, Kelly said he went to a gun store in Tucson, Ariz., to buy a 45.-caliber handgun. As he was leaving, he noticed a used AR-15 rifle and bought it as well. He noted how easy it was to buy the rifle.

"Even to buy an assault weapon, the background check only takes a matter of minutes," Kelly wrote. "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."

But Kelly didn't actually walk out with the rifle. The owner of the gun shop told The Associated Press that Kelly bought the weapon on March 5 but because he had bought it used from a customer, the store was legally required to hold the gun for 20 days to make sure it hadn't been used in a crime.

Kelly said in his post that he didn't have possession of the gun yet, and that he will turn the rifle over to Tucson's police department when he does receive it.

His post drew plenty of criticism on Facebook. "Nice marketing stunt," one person wrote. "Only thing you proved is that background checks work."

Kelly has become a vocal supporter of gun control since his wife was seriously injured in a mass shooting outside of a Tucson supermarket two years ago. He and Giffords have pushed for expanded background checks at gun stores, gun shows and in private seller transactions.

The National Rifle Association was also critical of Kelly's purchase. NRA board member Todd Rathner suggested that Kelly pulled a "cheap publicity stunt," and said that Kelly, as a model U.S. citizen, shouldn't have any problem buying a gun, according to The Associated Press.

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Tags: DramaGuns
Mar 13, 2013 4:34PM
Gifford wasn't shot because it is easy to get guns; but because an insane person decided to kill someone.  Without guns he would likely have used a machete or baseball bat.
Mar 13, 2013 3:22PM
It sounds like to me this was a STRAW PURCHASE, purchasing a gun with the intent of giving it to someone else.   I do not care who you are or why you do it, it is AGAINST THE LAW!  The gun should not be delivered to Mr. Kelly.
Mar 13, 2013 4:03PM
Just another Liberal who thinks laws are good for everyone but them.
Mar 13, 2013 6:16PM
MSN get your head out of your ****!!!!!  It is NOT an assault weapon.  Learn your terminology or quit writing about things you know nothing about.
Mar 13, 2013 2:08PM
the only reason he is giving to police dept is that he got caught purchasing what he doesn't want others to have.  Elitism at its ugliest.   Can you say "damage control?"
Mar 13, 2013 6:21PM

Kelly filled out a FEDERAL form to purchase the rifle, and on that form is a line asking if you are the buyer. If he checked "yes", he can't just "turn it over" to the police, as this would be a straw purchase. If he did, it would appear he would become a felon, under federal law.

I think he should have consulted with David Gregory and MSNBC before he pulled this stunt. But then, look what happened to Gregory and MSN when THEY violated the law. NOTHING!

Mar 13, 2013 6:20PM

What he bought was a not an assault rifle as the military uses. It is a semiautomatic and Not Full Automatic as the military uses. Had he not been seen buying it he would have kept it. He did buy a 45 cal. semiautomatic hand gun also.

After being at the hearings for gun control, to go out and buy guns is showing how big of a liar he is.

He has made a fortune off of the taxpayers and now he is trying to stab them in the back.

Mar 13, 2013 3:52PM

Here's a real headline:  "A proposal to expand background checks on Washington State gun sales failed Tuesday in the state House"  This happened just yesterday, March 12th, 2013, even though Gabby Giffords phoned in to the hearings to try to force her will on the people of this fine state.


By the way, Washington State also legalized marijuana.  As soon as I'm done with this doobie, I think I'll go out and buy me another gun.  God bless the USA !

Mar 13, 2013 6:13PM
he is such a jerk neither him or his wife have done anything but live off the taxpayers and now he needs a crusade because he has nothing else to do, he keeps exploiting his wife just like the democrats, he's shameful
Mar 13, 2013 6:23PM
gun haters are expert story spinners.
Mar 13, 2013 6:09PM
Purchase was made for publicity, not for use. Like advertising, this action was a lie.
Mar 13, 2013 5:03PM

Yes he is a hypocrite, with excellent taste.  He worked hard his whole life to enjoy his accomplishments.  He keeps a cool level head like the rest of us and would ensure that what he owns he would keep locked in a safe and very secure place. He would instruct others around him safe handling practices and always treat the firearm as it were always loaded, and always point it in a safe direction.

Now what exactly was it he was trying to inform us of?  That honest hard working citizens who obey the laws passed by our elected officials will have no problem obtaining a firearm legally?  Cool!  I can get on that train!

Mar 13, 2013 6:20PM
He used his agenda funds to buy a 2k rifle. The poor people can't buy this type of weapon.Pure decrimination by those in power. He did not take weapon do to upgrades being done,one was a suppressor, not legal in many states.  The background check worked. Legal citzens can buy a gun.His reason makes no sense. Hypocite & a big liar.
Mar 13, 2013 2:21PM
The system worked as intended, and it becomes fodder for the internet? I don't get it.

BTW, what is an "AR-15 style"?
Mar 13, 2013 6:18PM

Hey, the man obviously does like and appreciate guns. He wanted a 1911 and a modern sporting rifle, had the money, passed the background check and purchased it. He did what every law abiding American citizen should be allowed to do. This only shows that all law abiding Americans should be able to enjoy the same freedoms that he did. BTW..... so what if he is a nasty liberal hypocrite. That's his American freedom also..........


"For those who have fought for it, freedom has a taste the protected will never know."

Mar 13, 2013 6:25PM
He didn't buy an assault weapon, only a modern sporting weapon. True assault weapons require a $200 federal taz stamp and a wait of 5 to 6 months for a background check. That's about the same time it takes for the purchase of a rocket launcher to clear federal checks, if your state allows NFA registered items.
Mar 13, 2013 3:41PM
The only thing that proves is the GUN wasn't involved in a crime not the human being that purchased it !
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