Tuscon Police still waiting for Capt. Kelly’s AR


My colleague Billy Cox has a story in today’s paper about Capt. Mark Kelly’s two sold-out performances in Sarasota Monday.

Kelly, is best known as the husband of Gabrielle Giffords, and for his advocacy for stricter gun control.

Capt. Mark Kelly

As Billy points out in his story: Giffords, a former U.S. House Democrat, was critically wounded by a diagnosed schizophrenic at a Tucson shopping center in January 2011 as she met with constituents. Nineteen people were shot, six of them fatally, with a 9 mm pistol packing a 33-round magazine.

Like Sarah Brady, Kelly has a standing to be involved in the gun debate that cannot be denied.

He’s an American hero, an astronaut and a decorated combat vet. He has a right to be heard.

Kelly arrived in Sarasota Monday with some baggage, however. He had just been outed by folks he dismissed as “Second Amendment bloggers” for purchasing an AR-15 and a 1911 .45 pistol at a Tucson gun shop last week. The word “hypocrite” is used in many of the online posts.

Buying the rifle, he explained at a press conference Monday in Sarasota, was a test of sorts. He merely sought to educate himself about the process.

“This is a complicated issue that I need to understand,” Kelly said. “I need to understand how hard or easy it is to buy an assault weapon or to make a purchase.”

Kelly said he plans to donate the rifle to Tucson police.

His explanation doesn’t pass the sniff test.

Instead, I think Kelly simply decided it was time to get a few guns.

Who can argue with his choices?

John Moses Browning’s 1911 design is arguably the greatest defensive tool ever made. Eugene Stoner’s AR design is nearly as legendary.

They’re classic American firearms,  exactly the type of weapon you’d expect an astronaut to buy, right?

Whether he’ll keep them for himself or donate them is still not clear.

I checked with Tucson Police Tuesday morning – department spokesman Sgt. Maria Hawke.

They’re still waiting for their rifle.

“As of this morning, Captain Mark Kelly has not turned any weapons over to the Tucson Police Department,” Hawke said in an email.



About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.

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