Disrupt   |  November 17, 2013

Mark Kelly on creative gun control messaging

Mark Kelly speaks to Karen Finney about the impact of gun control messaging and how he and wife Gabrielle Giffords implement creative ways of raising awareness.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> just two days ago an armed man stormed through the halls of a milwaukee's children's hospital. on the day before a 25-year-old man and 7-month-old baby were shot and killed on a new orleans bridge. let's not forget it's only two weeks ago that 19-year-old ra knee shah mcbride, injured and scarred from a car crash , was shot in the head while trying to get help. there are just a fraction of the 33 people -- 33 people shot in the united states every day. my next guest is working tirelessly to change that. mark kelly began the transition from astronaut to activist almost three years ago when his wife, former congresswoman gabrielle giffords , was shot while she met with her constituents in tucson. last year on the second anniversary of the shooting, the couple launched americans for responsible solutions to advocate for, quote, common sense protections from gun violence . i had the opportunity to speak with captain kelly this week about his latest projects. the virginia governor 's race. and of all things, mice in space. why don't we start talking about your book.

>> great.

>> "housetronaut goes to mars."

>> i got a copy of it right here. it's the second of a series. on my first space flight we had 18 mice on board. one of the little guys inspired me to write a book called "mousetronaut." on this one he goes on a much more exciting adventure. gets to take a trip all the way to mars.

>> christmas is just around the corner. sounds like that's a good potential christmas gift people should be thinking about. i'll do some selling for you.

>> yeah, it is. i think it inspires kids to be interested in science and math and engineering. you know, those kind of things. we need to get kids -- continue to get them focused on those.

>> interest in science and math. i actually went to space camp myself.

>> all right.

>> switching gears, can we talk a little bit about -- americans for responsible solutions put out a poll today kind of looking at the impact of gun control messaging or gun safety messaging in virginia and it turned out it was very effective.

>> initially we were kind of surprised that we could -- we could message on the gun violence issue and win on that issue. and terry mcauliffe certainly, you know, took it on, you know, straight ahead. here's his position. he's a strong supporter of the second amendment. like gabby and i are. he also realizes, you know, that we can make some very positive changes to reduce gun violence . and so our messaging in those races, the governor's, lieutenant governor's and a.g. races there, it was about this issue.

>> right. i know you guys focused on your -- on the pac side, you're raising money. i think you've raised $6.6 million. are you going to continue to try to look at races where you can have an impact? i feel like that is certainly what we're seeing with mayors against illegal guns . there's a lot more activity, it feels like, happening at the state level.

>> our pac at c-4 in july i think we announced we had raised $11 million. we've obviously raise add lot more money since then. we're raising money to be prepared for the 2014 election. to try to communicatcommunicate, you know, with members of congress as their constituents on this issue. you know, we're going to be focused on places where we can win. we've got to be very strategic about how we spend, you know, the resources that we have. so we'll be looking for races around the country. senate races, house races, and like you saw in virginia, also state, you know, races around the country where we can be effective and helpful.

>> you know, it's so important, i think, what we're doing. for so long the argument has been there's no real counterweight to the nra . they've really bullied, i think, a lot of people out of getting engaged. one of the things i noticed that you and congresswoman giffords do is you've gone to gun shows. you went and -- you did a video, i think, of showing how easy it is to get a background check . you guys have taken also kind of a creative approach to sort of illustrating, you know, sort of more parts of this conversation.

>> gabby and i are both gun owners . we're supporters of the second amendment. not trying to infringe on anybody's rights, you know. but at the same time, we can keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the dangerously mentally ill . you mentioned the effectiveness of the nra . you got to give them a lot of credit. for the last 30 years, they've been able to build and enormous amount of influence in washington. but part of the reason, like you point out, is because there's nobody -- there's no counterbalance there. so, you know, our job is to provide that counterbalance. to make or hopefully help members of congress feel a little differently about their next election. you know, the good thing, you know, on, you know, on this topic, and on this subject, is that we don't have to change any members' minds about the policy. you know, they're usually pretty good with that. it's just we've got to get them thinking differently about their next election to allow them to vote the way they would want to vote.

>> right. if you look at the polling, the way it seems a majority of americans actually agree.

>> when you go back to april for the manchin toomey bill, that polls at 92% across the nation. it averaged state to sate a bit. pulled at 78% for nra members. congress couldn't pass it. because they're worried about their next election.

>> final question. i am a big fan of your wife's. i wonder if you can tell us how she's doing. it's great to see her out with you, being active. honored by "glamour" magazine. how is she doing?

>> gabby is doing great. the "glamour" woman of the year awards that evening was -- was really nice. she got up on stage and gave a great speech. and she continues to work very hard on her own recovery. she works hard on this issue, our organization, americans for responsible solutions. but, you know, she's at it all the time with speech therapy and physical therapy . and, you know, always, you know, looking for the next thing that could possibly help her. i'm so inspired by her. just when she was a member of congress , you know, i realized that she was, you know, tough and a hard worker.

>> sure.

>> but i really had no idea until, you know, after what happened to her almost three years ago.

>> captain mark kelly , thank you so much for joining me today. please thank your wife and thank you for the work you guys are doing. it is so important.

>> i will. and thanks for having me on your show. appreciate it.

>> take care my thanks to mark kelly for his time earlier this week. check out their website at americaforresponsiblesolutions. org.