Giffords’ Husband Failed Same Background Checks Her Attacker Passed

AP Photo/Tom Uhlman
AP Photo/Tom Uhlman

Breitbart News reported that Gabby Giffords renewed her push for background checks to require purchasers at gun shows to pass the same background check her attacker, Jared Loughner, passed.

Some media outlets and gun control advocated responded to the report by claiming Loughner’s successful passage of a background check simply proves the background check system isn’t sufficient. But those making this argument miss a very important point: Namely, that Giffords’ husband, Mark Kelly, was turned away twice on gun purchases in 2013 because of certain requirements and stipulations of the current background check system.

Breitbart News previously reported that Kelly went to Tucson, Arizona’s Diamondback Police Supply in February 2013 to show that “background checks are easy.”  Kelly brought in a Texas ID instead of an Arizona ID and was denied because the current background check system stipulates that you can only purchase a handgun in the state within which you reside.

Kelly returned with an Arizona ID 13 days later and passed the background check for a 1911-style handgun. He then released a hidden-camera video of how easy it was to purchase the gun but made no mention of the fact that his first attempt was refused.

Last year, Breitbart News reported that Kelly’s highly-publicized AR-15 purchase was terminated as well. Kelly made such a show of his attempt to buy the rifle — telling CNN’s Wolf Blitzer his plan was to hand the gun over to someone else all along — that Diamondback Police Supply owner Douglas MacKinlay cancelled the purchase and refunded Kelly’s money.

MacKinlay was concerned that Kelly could not have passed question 11a of NICS background check form 4473. Question 11a is designed to ascertain whether the buyer is buying the gun for himself.

MacKinlay explained why he halted the purchase:

While I support and respect Mark Kelly’s 2nd Amendment rights to purchase, possess, and use firearms in a safe and responsible way, his recent statements to the media make it clear that his intent in purchasing the Sig Sauer 5.56mm rifle was for reasons other than his own personal use.

The bottom line: Our background check system stops people who don’t meet the requirements and stipulations of the checks when they walk into a gun store. But the checks cannot and will not stop criminally-minded individuals who have yet to commit a crime sufficient to create a searchable record for themselves.

Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at





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