Astronaut Mark Kelly, husband of Gabby Giffords, says more gun laws will help stop violence

Astronaut Mark Kelly says more gun laws will help stop violence

INDIAN WELLS, Calif. - Hundreds of people turned out for the Desert Town Hall series at the Renaissance Indian Wells Resort Friday. 

The keynote speakers were former congresswoman and mass shooting survivor Gabby Giffords and her husband, NASA astronaut Mark Kelly.

Kelly and fellow astronaut Megan McArthur took questions from high school students at the Youth Town Hall before the main event.

All the questions from the kids focused on space and science. But when News Channel 3 & CBS Local 2 reporter Joe Galli talked to students one on one, they said gun violence is a major concern, especially following a mass shooting at a Florida high school.

"I think we are all very scared by the state of the country when it comes to gun violence. It could be anyone. It could be our school, it could be Palm Desert, it could be La Quinta, and I think we all just want to see a change," said Emily Quagliani, who goes to Xavier Prep High School.

Aaraya Bizl goes to La Quinta High School. She introduced Kelly at the Youth Town Hall. 

She’s originally from Australia, a country with much stricter gun laws put in place after a mass shooting in 1996.

"In Australia guns aren't legal there. It’s not really a thing when I was growing up. I didn’t hear about gun shootings we always hear about it on American news," Bizl said.

Giffords did not make herself available to media interviews, but Kelly did share his thoughts on gun violence. Kelly said there is no easy answer.

"Mentally ill people are not generally more dangerous than other individuals, but as you have seen in Parkland, you’ve seen in Newtown, in Aurora and what happened to my wife Gabby in Tucson, there seems to be a component of that among mass shooters," Kelly said.

Kelly believes there are some steps elected officials can take now.

"It’s a combination of easy access to firearms especially for people like felons and people who are dangerously mentally ill, even suspected terrorists and domestic abusers. It’s about background checks for gun sales," Kelly said.

Kelly said stricter gun laws can help stop these atrocities from happening.

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