The husband of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords ripped the National Rifle Association (NRA) on Friday for a press conference that defied “common sense” and defended “extreme pro-gun positions.”
“Gabby and I are extremely disappointed by the NRA's defiant and delayed response to the massacre of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School,” Mark Kelly said in a statement.
Giffords nearly died in January 2011 after a lone gunman opened fire on an event the congresswoman was holding to meet with constituents. Six people were killed in the shooting, including a federal judge.
The assassination attempt by Jared Loughner is one of a string of mass shootings over the last few years. The latest occurred last week in Newtown, Conn., where 26 people — including 20 6- and 7-year-olds — were killed by another lone gunman.
Kelly spoke out after a press conference by NRA President Wayne LaPierre, which broke a weeklong silence by the group.
LaPierre called for a national program to put armed guards in every school around the country, arguing “the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
LaPierre also criticized gun-free school zones, saying that they indicated to “every insane killer in America” that they could safely inflict “maximum mayhem with minimum risk.”
The presser, which Kelly described as a “defiant and delayed response,” received immediate heat from Democrats on Twitter, and reaction from liberals like New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) has been overwhelmingly negative.
Kelly was in Beijing on the day of the Sandy Hook shooting, but posted that the victims of mass shootings “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.”