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Mark Kelly
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Arizona US Senate hopeful Mark Kelly takes issue with Trump’s claims

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Mark Kelly in the KTAR News studio in 2019. (KTAR News File Photo/Matt Bertram)

PHOENIX – Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Mark Kelly is taking issue with the way Donald Trump characterized him this week during the president’s campaign rally in Phoenix.

The former astronaut told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona Morning News on Friday that despite what Trump claimed Wednesday, he opposes open borders and supports the 2nd Amendment.

“He wants to raise your taxes, open your borders, give away free health care to illegal immigrants, and he wants to obliterate your 2nd Amendment,” Trump told a packed house at Arizona Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum while supporting Kelly’s likely opponent, Sen. Martha McSally.

While Kelly said he is against the tax cuts Trump gave to the wealthy – “I think we need to be looking out for the middle class” — he challenged some of the president’s other characterizations.

“I’m completely on the record – I’m not for open borders. I think we need border security. We also have to treat people fairly,” he said.

Kelly has been an active proponent of gun control since his wife, former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, was shot and seriously injured in an assassination attempt in 2010.

But he said he believes in gun ownership and is well armed himself.

“I’m a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment, and I’m a gun owner,” he said. “I own more firearms than most Arizonans. I’m pretty sure about that.”

However, he said many in the state agree with him that the right to bear arms should be regulated more than it is.

“I also think we need commonsense legislation that most Arizonans support to keep communities and families safer from gun violence,” he said.

Kelly, who is considered a moderate candidate, said he’ll support the Democratic nominee in the race against Trump, regardless of how his party’s primary race unfolds.

But if elected, he said he’ll have no problem working with whomever heads up the executive branch if it’s best for Arizona.

“No matter who the president is, or which party they belong to, I’m going to work with them when I believe that it’s right for our state,” he said.

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