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Mark Kelly talks about next steps after March For Our Lives rallies

PHOENIX — Mark Kelly, the husband of former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords, has been fighting to put an end to the country’s gun violence epidemic since Giffords was critically injured after an assassination attempt in Tucson in 2011.

The pair were also among the hundreds of thousands of people who attended the March For Our Lives rally in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, a gun control event organized by the students who survived the Marjory Stoneman High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, last month.

Kelly, who funded a gun reform advocacy group with his wife called Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence, gave some words of wisdom to the student organizers on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday.

“I would warn them not to get discouraged. You know, this is often two steps forward and one step back,” he said.

“I — I had the opportunity to talk to a few of them yesterday. And they have a plan. And this is — this is not the last you’re going to see of these kids.”

While the gun violence epidemic has been raging in the United States for decades, Kelly said he believes this movement is different.

“I think it’s different because we — we’ve arisen, you know, this — these young people, seem quite motivated and they realize that they have dealt a incredibly difficult set of circumstances, have been put in a horrible position.

“I mean to be in a — be in a school and have somebody show [up] and shoot at them, kill their friends and teachers, and they want — they want to see change. So that’s why I think this could be different.”

Kelly also noted that not one of the student speakers at the D.C. rally mentioned the words “Democrat” or “Republican” because “they realized that this needs to be a bipartisan approach to change.

“So they get that and they — they — they were pretty much on — on message. They’re smart, they’re articulate. They also realize that they need to motivate their peers to show up and vote.”

Another aspect to the March For Our Lives rally, not only in D.C., but nationwide, was encouraging young people to register to vote ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. Kelly said he believes that young people could have a “powerful impact” in future elections if they show up to vote.

“You know, historically, young people, if you’re under the age of 30, you have a pretty low chance of voting in any election. I think if you’re around 20 years old, that’s one in five. If you can change that number to two out of five people, that would have a powerful impact.”

But until the 2018 and 2020 elections, Kelly said he is hopeful that President Donald Trump will sign “sensible” gun control legislation if Congress is able to pass it.

“You got to get the legislation passed fast,” he said. “I’m hopeful that if we could get Congress, get the House and Senate to pass some sensible legislation, we get it to [Trump’s] desk, I think there’s a pretty good chance he — he might sign it.

“And if it’s not him, you know, we’ll — we’ll work on whoever the next president is.”

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