Captain Kelly's Hypocrisy

Recently, former astronaut Mark Kelly, husband of former congresswoman and shooting victim, Gabby Giffords, was seen making firearms purchases in an Arizona gun shop. That would not be a newsworthy event except for the fact that Giffords and Kelly have been much in the public eye lately, even setting up their own organization and a slickly done website for promoting stricter regulation of firearms.

On that site is a link to a Kelly video which shows Kelly driving from their home to a Tucson gun shop to purchase a handgun and to surreptitiously film the event to demonstrate the ease with which one can purchase a handgun. With his concealed camera recording Kelly goes through the procedure, reciting for his hidden camera the various statements to which he must swear under penalty of law to be eligible for the completion of the purchase. With the transaction successfully completed, Kelly returns to his home and shows his wife their new handgun, emphasizing for her and the videographer the ease of purchase.

Now I have no problem with any of that. Kelly thinks he's showing that the process is too simple and the rules need to be tightened. I happen to think he reinforces the position of the NRA and most lawful gun owners that sufficient safeguards already exist if they are enforced. Here's the pdf version of the form, Firearms Transaction Record Part I, Over-the-Counter, that Kelly and all the rest of us must fill out when making a firearms purchase. Note the repeated warnings in bold-face that the purchaser is certifying the truth, correctness and completeness of his document under penalty of law.

And what about Kelly's second purchase that day, the details of which he apparently has not been so forthcoming to the public. According to the gun shop proprietor and operator, Kelly also bought a semi-automatic, AR-15 style rifle, the very weapon the gun-grabbers are wetting their pants over. It was only when Kelly's presence in the gun shop was noticed by other customers and subsequently revealed to the media that Kelly reported he was purchasing the "assault rifle" purely for the purpose of demonstrating the ease with which it could be done. He claimed to have no intention of keeping the weapon but planned to turn it over to the Tucson police.

The gun shop proprietor ultimately decided to void the sale and refund Kelly's $1,295 payment. He noted that Kelly would have had to fill out the federal form before taking possession. I have information from a reliable source that Kelly filled out the paperwork at the time of purchase. The question in my mind is, did or would have, Kelly knowingly mislead the seller on that form? While he may in fact have been the actual buyer, and could truthfully so attest, if he was not planning to retain ownership, he was actually making a straw purchase for another owner, the Tucson police. So he was willing to put misleading information on the federal form in order to complete the transaction, a necessity to prove his point about the ease of buying an assault rifle.

And the question begs, if that was the true purpose, why didn't Kelly video record the actual purchase itself, so he'd have video proof of the transaction from start to finish, as he did with the handgun? Which handgun, by the way, he and Giffords apparently planned to keep as the posted video clearly shows. That seems strange as the video's first moments reveal that Kelly has other handguns but no semi-automatic rifle. Why then keep the handgun but not the rifle? Kelly's a retired navy captain so he surely knows the essential difference between an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle and a true, fully automatic assault weapon. He knows the former is a civilian weapon of self-defense while the latter is a weapon of war.

Sorry, but I'm just not buying it. I think Kelly meant to keep that rifle but got caught in a hypocritical embarrassment contradictory to his professed public pronouncements, assuredly not unusual in Democrat politics. Once exposed, he concocted the police ploy for cover. No one I know among gun owners begrudges the Kelly's having an AR-15. Frankly we believe they should be well-armed. Who knows what kook out there might decide his path to glory lies in the finishing of Jared Loughner's dirty work. It's the hypocrisy that is troublesome. Rather than making questionable purchases to prove how easy it is, Kelly and Giffords might better serve the cause of improved public protection from the likes of Loughner by working with police and mental health agencies to assure Jared's kind are in the federal no-purchase database.

I admired Mark Kelly prior to this episode. He's a former combat naval aviator. I've known several and they're a stalwart breed. I particularly respect anyone who will strap a dangerously volatile, shuttle launching, rocket booster to his butt and blast off into space. I admire the way he has been so strongly supportive of his wife and her recovery. To see the two of them together and interacting would be heartwarming were it not for their nefarious political mission of aiding the gun-grabbing Democrats. And I most assuredly do not like Kelly's self-serving, hypocritical, political duplicity. For me, the question begging is this:

Captain, did you sell all that good currency of your national service for the cheap rewards of shoddy Democrat politics?