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Mark Kelly, Martha McSally affirm their support of gun rights

Democratic challenger Mark Kelly, left, arrives to debate U.S. Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., right, at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism in Phoenix, Ariz., Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020. (Rob Schumacher/The Arizona Republic via AP, Pool)

PHOENIX – During Tuesday’s debate, incumbent Republican Senator Martha McSally and Democratic challenger Mark Kelly affirmed they both support gun rights for Arizonans and are working to make sure guns don’t end up in the wrong hands.

“Law abiding citizens deserve to keep their ability to defend their family and defend their own lives, and that’s what’s at stake right now,” McSally said during the debate.

Touting herself as the voters’ “Second Amendment Senator,” she noted that there needs to be additional mental health support and funding for schools to bolster security to keep students safe from gun violence.

McSally said the background check system for guns doesn’t work as it should. She also pointed to her support of the Fix NICS Act, which was a federal law in 2017 that applies penalties to government agencies for not reporting criminal to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

“We’ve had shootings where people should’ve been in the system, but instead they passed a background check” McSally said.

Meanwhile, Kelly said there are common sense gun laws that can allow Americans to keep their rights but also ensure guns don’t wind up in the wrong hands.

“These are common sense things that most Arizonans support,” Kelly said.

Kelly’s wife, Gabby Giffords, suffered a traumatic brain injury when she was shot in the head in Tucson in 2011. She underwent months of treatment in the ICU and Kelly said she still goes to physical and speech therapy.

Following the shooting, Kelly and his wife founded Giffords, an organization that works to help communities be safer from gun violence.

“I’m a supporter of the Second Amendment, I’m a gun owner,” Kelly said. “Our rights and traditions are so important. The Second Amendment is so important, but we can never let a bunch of kids in the classroom get killed and think there’s nothing we can do about it.”

Kelly argued there are common sense things that can be done like red flag laws, which allow law enforcement of family members to petition the court to temporarily take away firearms from a person who could be a danger to themselves or others, and background checks for all gun sales.

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