By Oren Liebermann
DOVER, Del., (CBS) – For Mark Kelly, gun control has become personal. The former astronaut is the husband of Representative Gabby Giffords, who survived a gunshot to the head in January of 2011. He calls himself pro-gun ownership but anti-gun violence.
“We have fifteen to twenty times the murder rate from hand guns of similar countries,” said Kelly, speaking in Dover, Delaware.
Kelly came to the state capitol to show his support for a bill that would require background checks for anyone purchasing a gun at a show. State senator Harris McDowell, (D) Wilmington North, says that loophole allows buyers to avoid the background checks at gun stores.
“A criminal, a member of al-Qaeda, a very seriously mentally ill person can go to that place, and they’re not required to do a background check, so they don’t,” said McDowell.
Gun rights activists gathered outside Legislative Hall to oppose the bill. They say it will not stop criminals from stealing guns or purchasing them illegally.
“This legislation is only against our second amendment rights to restrict the honest people from getting guns and protecting our family,” said Lacey Lafferty.
Former NRA president John Sigler says the bill is less about background checks and more about gun registration.
“This bill is really about de facto federal registration about not just the firearms in question, but the buyers and sellers in question,” Sigler said.
The bill has turned the First State into a second amendment battleground, pitting gun rights against gun control.