Navy combat veteran and former astronaut Mark Kelly, a vocal gun control advocate, believes President Donald Trump’s views on gun control have shifted since the election — in the direction that meshes slightly more with Kelly’s perspective.
Kelly, husband of former Democratic Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who survived a gunshot wound to the head in 2011, said the reason the nation faces an issue of gun violence more than any other industrialized country is because of corporate money injected into politics.
“They spent in excess, we believe of $30 million to help him get elected and if you believe money in politics matter, you got to believe that money bought some at least a strong connection between his administration and their organization, the National Rifle Association,” Kelly, a gun owner himself, told ABC News’ Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl and Political Director Rick Klein during the “Powerhouse Politics.”
Kevin Lamarque/ReutersFlanked by Senators John Cornyn, R-TX, and Dianne Feinstein, D-CA, President Donald Trump meets with bi-partisan members of Congress to discuss school and community safety in the wake of the Florida school shootings in Washington, Feb. 28, 2018.
Despite the NRA’s relationship with the president, Kelly believes that Trump is pushing for revised legislation. “I think he’s trying to figure this out,” Kelly said.
Case in point: During an informal meeting with a group of congress members at the White House on Wednesday, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., suggested inserting an addendum on domestic violence to a new bill on background checks.
“So if you can add that to this bill, that would be great,” Trump said about Klobuchar’s suggestion, before turning to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., “Dianne, if you can add what you have also, and I think you can, into the bill.”
And during the meeting, the president suggested raising the minimum age to purchase firearms to 21 and ban the sales of bump stocks.
“People aren’t bringing it up because they’re afraid to bring it up,” Trump said. “You can’t buy a handgun at 18, 19 or 20. You have to wait until you’re 21. You could buy the weapon used in this horrible shooting at 18. You are going to decide — the people in this room pretty much — are going to decide. I would give very serious thought to it.”
And that’s an area that Kelly agrees with: “I don’t feel somebody who’s not allowed to buy a Bud Light, should be able to buy an AR-15 in a high capacity magazine –- that clearly doesn’t make sense,” he said.