The Lookout

Mark Kelly: Mental health background check could’ve prevented Tucson

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Giffords and Kelly appear at a hearing on Capitol Hill, Jan. 30, 2013. (AP/File)

Mark Kelly, retired astronaut and husband of former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, told "Fox News Sunday" that gun control legislation currently being discussed in Congress needs to include a background check that carries better mental health screening.

Kelly argued that a recent poll showing 90 percent of Americans support a universal background check should be a signal to Congress to take action, and that mental health records need to be considered when selling someone a gun.

“I would love to work with leadership of [the National Rifle Association] to make sure we get those records in the system," Kelly said Sunday.

Had such a system been in place in January 2011, Kelly said, his wife would not have been shot in the head and six people would not have been killed in a mass shooting in Tucson.

Jared Loughner, who pleaded guilty to the killings, passed a background check "despite evidence of his agitated mental state," the Associated Press reported.

The NRA has argued that additional legislation for background checks punish law-abiding gun owners. On Sunday, Kelly said a recent video showing a 5-minute background check proves it is “not the burden that the NRA leadership says it is."

On NBC's "Meet The Press," Sen. Chuck Schumer called the proposed universal background check bill a “sweet spot” because it “would do a whole lot of good and had a good chance of passing."

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