The husband of former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is speaking out about the tragedy in Newtown, CT. and calling for stricter gun control laws.
Retired U.S. Navy Captain and NASA Astronaut, Mark Kelly, responded to Friday's shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School with sadness and determination. In a statement posted on his Facebook page, Kelly said leaders must respond with more than condolences. He continued by saying:
"As we mourn, we must sound a call for our leaders to stand up and do what is right. This time our response must consist of more than regret, sorrow, and condolence. The children of Sandy Hook Elementary School and all victims of gun violence deserve leaders who have the courage to participate in a meaningful discussion about our gun laws - and how they can be reformed and better enforced to prevent gun violence and death in America. This can no longer wait."
Kelly's wife, Gabrielle Giffords, was shot on in the head at close range during a rally outside a supermarket in Tuscon, Arizona in January of 2011. Eighteen people were shot, six of them fatally. Giffords survived the attack, but is still receiving physical therapy. At the time of the shooting, calls for stiffer gun control laws echoed throughout the country, but new laws never materialized.
U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords' office
Mark Kelly at the side of wife Gabrielle Giffords in the University Medical Center, recovering from injuries sustained during the 2011 Tucson shooting.
In November of this year, Kelly harshly criticized Ariz. Gov. Jan Brewer, saying she showed “feckless” leadership on gun control issues.
The comments were made as Kelly addressed the court during the sentencing hearing for Giffords' shooter, Jared Loughner. In his statement to the court, Kelly continued by saying:
"As a nation we have repeatedly passed up the opportunity to address this issue. After Columbine; after Virginia Tech; after Tucson and after Aurora we have done nothing.”
Friday's tragic shooting that killed 20 children has lead to Kelly renewing his plea for gun law reforms, as well as having President Obama say:
"We are going to have to come together and take meaningful action to stop more incidents like these, regardless of the politics."
Both Obama and congressional leaders have steered clear of the gun control issue, despite several instances of mass murder shootings over the past few years. It remains to be seen if this latest tragedy will lead to the changes in gun laws Kelly and many others want to see.