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Gun store owner cancels Mark Kelly's AR-15 purchase

Former astronaut Mark Kelly discusses the steps he and wife Gabrielle Giffords are touting for gun control reform, including the passage of a universal background check law.

An Arizona gun store owner says he will not sell Mark Kelly the AR-15 rifle that the vocal advocate for tighter gun control bought earlier this month.

The manager of the Tucson, Ariz., store where Kelly, husband of former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, bought the firearm has said that he will not complete the March 5 transaction, according to a statement posted on Facebook.

“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,” Douglas MacKinlay, owner of Diamondback Police Supply, said in the post.

The store was required to hold the rifle purchased by Kelly for 20 days, MacKinlay told the Associated Press after Kelly purchased the firearm.

“He is a U.S. citizen, an Arizona citizen expressing his Second Amendment rights to purchase and own a firearm,” MacKinlay told the AP at the time.

The gun store owner said in his statement posted on Monday that he had reconsidered the sale. MacKinlay did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday morning.

“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.

The store sent Kelly a refund last Thursday, according to the statement. Kelly, an astronaut, has promoted tighter gun control since his wife, Giffords, was shot in the head at point-blank range by Jared Loughner in 2011.

The couple launched a new national campaign in January to combat gun violence. Americans for Responsible Solutions was launched “to encourage elected officials to stand up for solutions to prevent gun violence and protect responsible gun ownership.”

Kelly, who is a gun owner, has said his purchase was meant to demonstrate how easy it is to buy a semi-automatic rifle.

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