- Kelly says he bought AR-15-style rifle to draw attention to the ease with which people can get type of weapon used in recent massacres
- Gun rights advocates have attacked him for being a hypocrite
- Kelly says he will eventually hand rifle in to Tucson police, but will keep the handgun
The husband of former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords went to a Tucson gun store a week ago to buy a .45-caliber handgun and a military-style rifle the day before he appeared with his wife at the supermarket where she was wounded in a rampage two years ago.
It didn’t take long for the purchase to draw criticism from both sides of the gun debate.
Mark Kelly said he bought the AR-15-style weapon to draw attention to the relative ease with which people can get the type of gun that the shooter used in the Newtown school and Colorado movie theater killings.
Gun-rights advocates attacked him for being a hypocrite for buying the same gun that he has been lobbying Congress to ban.
Kelly on Friday posted a photo on Facebook of him filling out paperwork at the gun shop.
He also posted a statement on the gun debate in Washington that included his reasons for buying the rifle.
The postings generated a flurry of nearly 4,000 comments about his motivations and the rules for purchasing such guns.
Kelly said on Facebook that the background check from the purchases took only a matter of minutes to complete and that it’s scary to think people can buy similar guns without background checks at gun shows or on the Internet.
Kelly also said he intends to eventually hand in the rifle to Tucson police.