Mark Kelly: Lawmakers 'should quit' if they don’t believe gun laws could work
© Greg Nash

Retired astronaut Mark Kelly said that members of Congress who don't believe that laws can and should be used to curb gun violence "should quit."

“I think if you’re a member of Congress and you fundamentally believe laws don’t work, you should quit. I mean, you really should. You’re in the wrong job. And that goes for anything, including this issue,” Kelly told Politico's "Off Message" podcast, referring to the debate over gun control. 

Kelly, the husband of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), who was badly injured in a 2011 shooting at a constituent event, is a staunch advocate for stricter gun laws. He is the co-founder of Americans for Responsible Solutions, a gun control group.

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His comments came amid a renewed national debate over gun laws that emerged after the Oct. 1 mass shooting in Las Vegas that left 58 people dead and more than 500 injured. 

Since then, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have called to ban "bump stocks" — devices that can be used to modify semi-automatic rifles to make them fire more rapidly.

The National Rifle Association, the nation's most prominent gun rights advocacy group, has also called for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to use existing laws to regulate bump stocks, though it is opposed to new legislation. 

Still, Kelly told Politico that the recent calls for the bump stock ban mark an important change in how lawmakers and others approach the issue of gun control.

“They are acknowledging that legislation matters. A lot of these folks have been saying it doesn’t matter, it will never matter,” he said “They have just turned that argument upside down. And that’s a good thing. You know, maybe people have to be educated, right?”