POSTED: Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - 11:00pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, March 26, 2013 - 11:04pm
CNN — An Arizona gun store says it has canceled a recent purchase of an AR-15 semiautomatic rifle by Mark Kelly thwarting the retired astronaut's attempt to demonstrate how easy it is to buy high-powered weapons.
Kelly, the husband of former Rep. Gabby Giffords and an outspoken advocate for new gun control measures, had in recent interviews said he was buying the rifle to showcase what he said are unobtrusive background checks.
Doug MacKinlay, owner of Diamondback Police Supply, said it was Kelly's statements that caused him to stop the sale.
"I determined that it was in my company's best interest to terminate this transaction prior to his returning to my store to complete the Federal Form 4473 and NICS (National Instant Criminal Background Check System) required of Mr. Kelly before he could take possession of this firearm," MacKinlay posted on the Tuscon store's Facebook page Monday.
MacKinlay said he sent a full refund to Kelly and nixed the transaction because Kelly made statements in the media that the rifle purchase was "for reasons other then for his personal use."
Kelly could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday.
The AR-15 is one of America's top-selling firearms, and has become a focus of the gun control debate after being used in a recent spate of mass shootings. One was used in the December massacre at a Connecticut elementary school. Advocates for tighter gun laws argue there's no need for Americans to own the powerful rifle, but the gun's proponents say the AR-15's accuracy makes it safe.
Kelly said on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer," that it was "important for me to have firsthand knowledge about how easy it is or difficult it is to buy a weapon like that."
Later on in the March 11 interview Kelly said "It is actually pretty easy. You know, for a weapon that's so deadly and really designed for the military, especially with the high-capacity magazines, it is a pretty easy thing to do, even with a background check."
Kelly has become a fierce gun control advocate after Giffords, his wife, was wounded in a 2011 Arizona shooting. Giffords was shot in the head in the Tucson shooting rampage that left six dead.