03/12/2013 02:34 pm ET Updated Mar 13, 2013

Mark Kelly Bought AR-15 Assault Weapon To Show How Easy It Is

WASHINGTON -- Mark Kelly, husband of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and a vocal gun control advocate, told CNN Monday that he had recently purchased an assault weapon to demonstrate the need for stricter gun laws.

Kelly, who in January launched Americans for Responsible Solutions with Giffords, took to Facebook on Friday to express concern over the nation's lax background check requirements, stating that it was "scary" to think that people can buy assault weapons "without a background check at a gun show or the Internet."

"I just had a background check a few days ago when I went to my local gun store to buy a 45," Kelly wrote. "As I was leaving, I noticed a used AR-15. Bought that too."

Kelly added, "Even to buy an assault weapon, the background check only takes a matter of minutes ... We really need to close the gun show and private seller loop hole."

In Arizona, where Kelly purchased the assault weapon, gun dealers must perform background checks through the Arizona Firearms Clearance Center and the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. According to RB Investigations, which offers defensive firearms training in Arizona, this process can take less than a minute to complete.

Kelly wrote on Facebook that he intended to turn over the assault weapon to the Tucson Police Department.

He told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Monday that it was "important for me to have firsthand knowledge about how easy it is or difficult it is to buy a weapon like that." He also stated that he was "looking forward at some point to buying a gun at a gun show [and] also possibly selling a gun so I know really the ins and outs of this issue."

Kelly -- who, in addition to increased background checks, has also advocated limits on high-capacity magazines -- has repeatedly noted that he and Giffords are proud gun owners before arguing that it is past time for Congress to respond to gun violence.

"Gabby and I are both very strong supporters of the Second Amendment," Kelly told CNN's Anderson Cooper in January. "Gabby owns a gun, I own a gun. This really isn't about the Second Amendment, I don't believe it is -- this is about gun safety and it's about safety of the public."

On Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bill that would require background checks for nearly all gun purchases. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), will receive a full vote on the Senate floor, although it lacks bipartisan support.



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