Entries in Mark Kelly (5)


Mark Kelly: 'Gabby Is Angry Today'

Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Mark Kelly expressed anger shared by he and his wife, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, after the Senate failed to pass the Manchin-Toomey gun background check deal on Wednesday.

"Gabby is angry today, and she's horrified by the decision of a minority of her former colleagues to block progress on this measure," Giffords' husband, Mark Kelly, said on Thursday.

Kelly added, "Along with so many parents from Newtown, so many of our former neighbors in Tucson, who were here in Washington this week, Gabby's disappointed, and she's angry, and so am I, but neither of us are deterred."

Kelly echoed the claim Giffords had made in a New York Times op-ed on Wednesday, accusing some senators of "cowardice" and claiming they voted against the background check proposal "out of fear."

Americans for Responsible Solutions, a group run by Kelly and Giffords, is reportedly preparing to release advertisements thanking the senators who voted in favor of the legislation on Wednesday, naming Republican senators Susan Collins and John McCain, among others.

Giffords' op-ed was published on Wednesday and accused the Senate of being afraid of the National Rifle Association and the gun lobby, echoing President Barack Obama's frustration.

She derided Senators who may refer to the proposal as a "tough vote" or a "complicated issue," adamant that Wednesday's vote was neither.

"Mark my words: if we cannot make our communities safer with the Congress we have now, we will use every means available to make sure we have a different Congress," Giffords said. "To do nothing while others are in danger is not the American way."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Gabrielle Giffords, Mark Kelly Have ‘Mystical Connection’ in Photo Shoot

Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic(WASHINGTON) -- Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, ex-astronaut Mark Kelly, have a “mystical connection” that was on display during a recent interview with Vogue magazine.

The couple posed for photographs in their Tucson, Ariz., home while discussing the uphill health battle Giffords climbs every day along with the campaign for changes in gun control laws.

Just over two years after the shooting massacre in a Tucson supermarket parking lot that killed six and wounded 12 others, Giffords and Kelly announced the creation of Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS).  Giffords has become a public figure for gun control while still in physical and speech therapy several times a week recovering from a bullet wound that left her with severe brain damage.

“We realized that now is the time.  We have to do something,” Kelly told Vogue.

The political-action committee plans for “common sense” legislation that the couple believes most Americans would endorse, including limiting the size of ammo magazines and a ban on the sale of assault weapons to civilians.  The PAC is also lobbying for compulsory background checks for gun buyers.

The couple attended Tuesday’s State of the Union address in which President Obama called for stricter gun laws.

Their PAC is up against the powerful influence of the National Rifle Association.  However, because Giffords and Kelly both grew up with firearms around them and currently own a gun, they have something in common with the “opposing side” that may be to their advantage.

“We didn’t want to be doing this,” Kelly said to Vogue writer John Powers.  “There are lots of things we’d rather have done.  But sometimes you don’t get a choice.  Gabby is ‘OK, this happened to me.  I want it to count for something.’”

Vogue’s March 2013 issue hits newsstands on Tuesday, Feb. 19.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Mark Kelly Possible Heir to Gabrielle Giffords' Political Career

Valerie Macon/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- One of the more dramatic moments of President Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday night was when he said over and over that victims of gun violence "deserve a vote" to thunderous applause.

"Gabby Giffords deserves a vote," the president said as the camera panned to the former Arizona congresswoman, who is spearheading a new gun control push focused on universal background checks.

The man by her side Tuesday night, Giffords' husband Mark Kelly, is her partner in the gun control fight, but now in Arizona the former astronaut is also being seen as a possible new star who could inherit his wife's political career.

Jeff Rogers, a friend of Giffords and Kelly and former chair of the Pima County Democratic Party, told ABC News that Kelly would be "an ideal candidate to take on John McCain's position in 2016."

McCain, who along with Giffords' successor Ron Barber (D-Ariz.), gave Kelly and Giffords his visitor pass for the State of the Union speech, will be 80 when he is up for reelection in 2016.

"There are few other people that would be such a formidable candidate," Rogers said, noting that Kelly would also have his wife's political skills as an asset.  "His wife has the greatest political mind in a generation in this state.  Her smarts and his background and both of their courage coming out in this issue (of gun control)…I think it speaks well of them, putting themselves out there for sane reform of much needed reform of gun laws."

Rogers added that Kelly has been "putting himself out there a lot not just after the Connecticut massacre, but before then," and that he's been a public face in Tucson, Ariz., since the couple moved back in August.  These moves make Rogers think it's possible Kelly "would be interested in pursuing such a thing."

"I think the Senate is the most logical place for him," Rogers said.

Kelly, 48, has said that he is not interested in becoming a politician.

"She's the politician in the family, I'm the space guy," he said in July 2011.

An aide said that Kelly is fully focused on his wife's recovery and running the newly created SuperPAC to push gun control measures called Americans for Responsible Solutions.

The PAC has released its first ad, in which Giffords tells the nation to "take it from me, Congress must act.  Let's get this done."  

The ad is targeting congressional lawmakers with an ad buy that reaches the districts of House Speaker John Boehner, House Minority Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Mark Kelly, NRA's Wayne LaPierre to Testify at Gun Violence Hearing

KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images | Bruce Glikas/FilmMagic(WASHINGTON) -- Mark Kelly, the astronaut husband of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., and Wayne LaPierre, the executive vice president and CEO of the National Rifle Association, will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday in the first congressional hearing on gun violence since the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., last month.

Kelly, whose wife was seriously injured in the mass shooting that killed six people in Tucson, Ariz., two years ago, will appear on the panel, just weeks after launching Americans for Responsible Solutions, an organization promoting the implementation of universal background checks and limits on high capacity magazines.

"Overwhelmingly, you told us that universal background checks and limiting access to high capacity magazines were top priorities -- and I'll make sure to address each of those ideas in my opening remarks," Kelly wrote in an email to supporters on Tuesday.  Kelly asked the group's allies to sign a petition calling on Congress to pass legislation on both issues.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is LaPierre, who states the NRA's opposition to universal background checks and urges legislators not to "blame" legal gun owners by enacting new gun control laws.

"Law-abiding gun owners will not accept blame for the acts of violent or deranged criminals.  Nor do we believe the government should dictate what we can lawfully own and use to protect our families," LaPierre will say on Wednesday, according to prepared remarks released by the NRA.

"Proposing more gun control laws -- while failing to enforce the thousands we already have -- is not a serious solution to reducing crime," says LaPierre in his prepared text.

In the wake of the shooting in Newtown, the NRA advocated placing armed security guards in every school in America, an initiative LaPierre will promote in Wednesday's hearing, arguing that "it's time to throw an immediate blanket of security around our children."

In an interview with ABC News' Diane Sawyer earlier this month, Kelly and Giffords said they hope the Sandy Hook shooting, in which 20 children and six adults died, will spur legislative action on gun policy.

"Enough," Giffords said.

"After the shooting in Tucson, there was talk about addressing some of these issues, [and] again after [the movie theater massacre in] Aurora, [Colo.]," Kelly said.  "I'm hopeful that this time is different, and I think it is.  Twenty first-graders being murdered in their classrooms is a very personal thing for everybody."

Wednesday's hearing is the first meeting ever for Kelly and LaPierre, according to an interview Kelly gave to CNN Tuesday.  Kelly, who has shot at an NRA practice range with his wife, noted that he is a gun enthusiast but is not a member of the NRA.

"You would think with my background I would be a member of the NRA.  I own a gun.  I recently bought a hunting rifle a few months ago.  I went through a background check.  It took I think about 20 minutes.  It's a small price to pay to make us safer.  We're not going to stop every one of these mass shootings.  We're not going to stop every murder with a handgun in our cities, but I think we'd go a long way to reducing the violence and preventing some," Kelly told CNN.

The hearing is titled "What Should America Do About Gun Violence?"  Others testifying include Professor Nicholas Johnson of Fordham University School of Law, Baltimore Chief of Police James Johnson, and Gayle Trotter, an attorney and senior fellow at the Independent Women's Forum.

Giffords will also appear at the hearing alongside her husband, ABC News confirmed.  She will give an opening statement.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Gabrielle Giffords Forms Democratic PAC with Husband Mark Kelly

ABC/ Ida Mae Astute(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, a former NASA astronaut, announced the formation of a political action committee Tuesday.

The move will enable Giffords and Kelly to accept campaign contributions and financially support like-minded candidates seeking public office.

“We are thrilled to officially launch Gabby PAC,” Giffords and Kelly wrote in a statement. “Gabby PAC will only support candidates who are dedicated to working hard for commonsense, bipartisan solutions that strengthen our communities and our entire country. This commitment to public service over partisanship is what guided Gabby while she was serving the people of Arizona and will be the guiding principle of Gabby PAC.”

Giffords, D-Ariz., resigned from the House of Representatives on Jan. 25, a little more than a year after she was shot in the head during a constituent event in Tucson, Arizona. She has kept a relatively low profile since leaving office, although she and Kelly met with Pope Benedict XVI last month at the Vatican.

Giffords was shot Jan. 8, 2011 by Jared Lee Loughner, who is likely to spend the rest of his life in prison after pleading guilty last month to 19 counts stemming from the shooting, including attempted assassination of a member of Congress.

The PAC will be co-chaired by two Democrats -- former Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson and economist Robert Reich, who was secretary of labor during the Clinton administration.

According to a statement, Gabby PAC will support candidates for public office who share the former congresswoman’s vision of “a better future for America.”

“These candidates are focused on offering responsible solutions to the problems facing our communities, including creating good paying jobs, strengthening our economy, supporting renewable sources of energy, caring for our returning veterans and their families and creating more opportunities for young people,” the statement read. “Gabby PAC will support Democratic candidates who favor working in a bipartisan way to find solutions to our challenges instead of partisanship and discord.”

Last month Giffords left a rehabilitation facility in Houston and moved back to Tucson, where she continues therapy.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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