Kelly voices optimism as Congress aims for tighter gun rules

Former NASA astronaut Mark Kelly said during a Wednesday afternoon press conference in Vermillion that he is confident Congress will “do the right thing” and tighten rules related to background checks for gun purchasers. Kelly gave a lecture Wednesday night on the USD campus. (Photo by David Lias)

Former NASA astronaut Mark Kelly said during a Wednesday afternoon press conference in Vermillion that he is confident Congress will “do the right thing” and tighten rules related to background checks for gun purchasers. Kelly gave a lecture Wednesday night on the USD campus. (Photo by David Lias)

By David Lias

david.lias@plaintalk.net

IdeaFest, an annual event at the University of South Dakota, brought former NASA astronaut Capt. Mark Kelly to the Vermillion campus Wednesday.

Wednesday night, he talked about his success in space as well as his personal life in a lecture in Aalfs Auditorium at Slagle Hall.

During an afternoon press conference, however, his mind was on happenings in the nation’s capital, as the U.S. Senate appeared to have struck a deal to expand gun background checks to all commercial sales — whether at gun shows, via the Internet or in any circumstance involving paid advertising.

Kelly and his wife, former U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, are currently at the forefront of pushing Congress to enact stricter gun control measures. It is a role the couple found themselves thrust into after a gunman seriously wounded Giffords in a January 2011 assassination attempt.

The couple’s resolve on this issue was strengthened after the December 2012 tragic shootings at Connecticut’s Sandy Hook Elementary School. In January, the congresswoman and Kelly announced the formation of a political action committee aimed at preventing gun violence.

Read this story in its entirety in tomorrow’s Yankton Press & Dakotan

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