Mark Kelly tells Marco Rubio to listen to his own constitutents regarding gun control measures

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On his Web site, the Florida Republican wrote:

“We, the undersigned, intend to oppose any legislation that would infringe on the American people’s constitutional right to bear arms, or on their ability to exercise this right without being subjected to government surveillance,” the senators write. “The Second Amendment to the Constitution protects citizens’ right to self-defense. It speaks to the history’s lesson that government cannot be in all places at all times, and history’s warning about the oppression of a government that tries.”

In joining this effort, Rubio added, “We should look for ways to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill prone to misusing them, but I oppose legislation that will be used as a vehicle to impose new Second Amendment restrictions on responsible, law-abiding gun owners. We should work to reduce tragic acts of violence by addressing violence at its source, including untreated mental illness, the lack of adequate information-sharing on mental health issues, and the breakdown of the family.”

"I would say to Marco Rubio that 94 percent of his constituents, support a universal background check," Mark Kelly replied back on Fox News Sunday. Kelly, the husband of former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, has become a leading figure for gun-control measures in the wake of the Newtown incident.

"They should listen to their constituents, and certainly shouldn't be getting in the way of the process," Kelly said, adding "which is to debate the bill, and to vote on the bill. I mean that doesn't make any sense. And I imagine that at some point, if they actually do this, that their constituents will hold them accountable for those actions."

Kelly was on the defensive on Fox, because seemingly the momentum for what advocates would call "common sense" gun safety laws has already begun to dissipate from the shocking intensity that the Connecticut elementary school shooting death brought to the nation, just the latest of a number of mass gun shootings that seem to happen every year in the U.S.

Last week a spokesman for Senator Chuck Grassley announced that the Iowa Republican will introduce an alternative gun bill in the Senate next month that will probably not include a universal background check.

Kelly told Fox News' Chris Wallace that such a bill would be a mistake, citing statistics that up to 40 percent of people who buy guns do so without going through a background check.

The NRA and some GOP Senators are against universal background checks because they fear that background-check data could be used to build a "secret" national registry of U.S. gun owners. That plays into the fear (or paranoia, some might argue) that the feds will have a checklist of people to ultimately go after their guns.

Kelly said that wasn't logical, saying that such background lists works with federally licensed gun dealers - no with the government.

On NBC's Meet The Press, Arizona GOP Senator Jeff Flake said it was excessive paperwork that causes him to oppose universal background checks.

"People in a private setting transferring or loaning a shotgun to go on a duck hunt for example, I think in his universal background check system there would be issues I think universal background checks we can scale back and still make significant progress by strengthening our background check system going too far."

  • Mark Kelly

Public opinion in Florida is strongly in favor of some form of gun control measures in the wake of the Newton massacre - unless you don't believe the recent Quinnipiac poll that found 91 percent of Florida voters saying they support universal background checks for all gun purchases.

That same survey also found that a narrow majority (51 percent) support stricter gun-control laws, and 56 percent support a nationwide ban on the sale of assault weapons.

Although a gun control bill has yet to come before Congress, Florida Senator Marco Rubio announced late last week that he would join with fellow GOP Senators (and all Tea Party faves) Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Mike Lee to filibuster any type gun legislation that might be introduced in the Senate.

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