The owner of a gun store in Arizona blocked the purchase of an AR-15 rifle by Mark Kelly, the former husband of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords who was shot in the head in 2011.
Douglas MacKinlay, owner of Diamondback Police Supply in Tucson, said on Monday that a full refund for a Sig Sauer M400 5.56mm AR-15 rifle was sent to Kelly following his March 5 purchase.
“While I support and respect Mark Kelly’s 2nd Amendment rights to purchase, possess, and use firearms in a safe and responsible manner, his recent statements to the media made it clear that his intent in purchasing the Sig Sauer M400 5.56mm rifle from us was for reasons other then [sic] for his personal use,” MacKinlay said in a statement posted on Facebook.
Kelly reportedly purchased the rifle to prove how easy it is to buy an assault weapon after his ex-wife’s injury, planning to turn it into Tucson police after the transaction. However, MacKinlay told The Arizona Daily Star that the purchase was terminated Thursday and a refund was sent the same day. Since the store was by law required to hold the rifle for 20 days, the purchase was terminated before Kelly could take possession of the firearm.
Initially, MacKinlay told The Associated Press that it was part of Kelly’s “Second Amendment rights to purchase and own a firearm.” However, MacKinlay expressed a change of heart on Monday when he cancelled the sale.
“In light of this fact, I determined that it was in my company’s best interest to terminate this transaction prior to his returning to my store to complete the Federal Form 4473 and NICS [National Instant Criminal Background Check System] background check required of Mr. Kelly before he could take possession of this firearm,” MacKinlay said in the statement.
MacKinlay said the gun will be raffled off and $1,295 will be donated to the Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program, a National Rifle Association (NRA) program for gun safety.
“The emphasis of the program is on child safety, something that is important to all of us and at the core of the current debate on gun control,” MacKinlay said of the program.
Kelly, a retired astronaut, has been doing the rounds to champion gun control since his former wife was shot in the head during a January 2011 event with constituents in Tucson, Ariz. In the shooting where six others were also killed, Giffords suffered permanent injuries, which led to her resignation from Congress in 2012 after only three terms in office. However, the congress woman vowed to return to public service in the future and most recently attended a Jan. 30 hearing on gun violence.
“Thank you for inviting me here today. This is an important conversation, for our children, for our communities, for Democrats and Republicans. Speaking is difficult, but I need to say something important. Violence is a big problem. Too many children are dying. Too many children. We must do something. It will be hard. But the time is now. You must act. Be bold. Be courageous. Americans are counting on you. Thank you,” Giffords said during her testimony.
Giffords, along with Kelly, launched Americans for Responsible Solutions earlier this year as a response to the NRA. The nonprofit group’s purpose, according to its website, is to “encourage elected officials to stand up for solutions to prevent gun violence and protect responsible gun ownership by communicating directly with the constituents that elect them.”