Mark Kelly, husband of Gabby Giffords, tussles with gun store, sea lion

In an eventful few days, Mark Kelly was foiled in his attempt to show how easy it is to buy an assault-style rifle, and he arrived too late to help a sea lion pup in California.

Ross D. Franklin/AP/File
Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (with flowers) and her husband, Mark Kelly, as well as other shooting victims of the Tucson mass shooting and family members, earlier this March return to the site of the shooting that left her critically wounded in Tucson, Ariz.

Mark Kelly, the husband of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her partner in launching a gun control group, has had a busy couple of days.

On Monday, the owner of the Diamondback Police Supply gun store in Tucson, Ariz., said he was canceling Mr. Kelly’s purchase of an assault-style rifle. Earlier this month, Kelly wrote on Facebook that he purchased the weapon to make the point that gun control laws were too lenient, The Hill newspaper reported. 

“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,” Kelly wrote.

Kelly’s wife was among 13 people wounded in a January 2011 shooting in a Tuscon supermarket parking lot that left six dead.

When he and his wife started their gun control organization, Americans for Responsible Solutions, they wrote an opinion article for USA Today saying, “Americans for Responsible Solutions, which we are launching today, will invite people from around the country to join a national conversation about gun violence prevention, will raise the funds necessary to balance the influence of the gun lobby, and will line up squarely behind leaders who will stand up for what's right.”

According to the Arizona Daily Star, Diamondback owner Doug MacKinlay posted a notice on his Facebook page Monday saying he had canceled the gun purchase March 21 and sent a full refund to Kelly before he could take possession of the rifle.   

The Hill quotes a post from Mr. MacKinlay's Facebook page explaining that, “While I support and respect Mark Kelly’s 2nd Amendment rights to purchase, possess, and use firearms in a safe and responsible manner, his recent statements to the media made it clear that his intent in purchasing the Sig Sauer M400 5.56mm rifle from us was for reasons other then [sic] for his personal use.”

MacKinlay continued: "In light of this fact, I determined that it was in my company’s best interest to terminate this transaction prior to his returning to my store to complete the Federal From [sic] 4473 and NICS background check required of Mr. Kelly before he could take possession this firearm."

Kelly is a retired astronaut and US Navy captain with 6,000 flight hours in more than 50 different aircraft and more than 50 days in space. According to his biography on the Americans for Responsible Solutions website, Kelly is the son of two police officers. He graduated from the United States Merchant Marine Academy and has a masters degree from the US Naval Postgraduate School.

The Associated Press reports that on Saturday Kelly and his wife were in Laguna Beach, Calif., vacationing and visiting Kelly’s daughter from a previous marriage. GlobalPost has YouTube video of Kelly helping his distraught daughter pull her large dog away from a baby sea lion that the dog had attacked. The AP quotes Los Angeles police as telling the Los Angeles Times that the attack happened near an exclusive resort.   

Kelly eventually succeeded in freeing the sea lion but the animal later died. A spokesperson for Americans for Responsible Solutions told the AP that Kelly crated the dog and then reported the incident to police. Police said the dog broke from its leash and that no laws were broken.

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