Mark Kelly, the husband of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., is threatening to support a challenger against Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., if he votes against a bill to increase background checks for gun buyers.
If Flake doesn’t support the bill and the “right candidate” is running, Kelly will back him, he said at a Christian Science Monitor breakfast Tuesday, The Hill reports
. Flake said in a statement on his Facebook page that he will oppose the legislation.
The senator, who doesn’t face re-election until 2018, has become good friends with Kelly and Giffords, who was shot in the head during a Tucson, Ariz. constituent meeting in early 2011. But gun control comes before friendship for Kelly.
"You know, friendship is one thing," he said. "Saving people's lives, especially first graders, is another thing." To be sure, "I think we can get him [Flake] to come around," Kelly said.
But if congressmen "won’t stand up and do what the American people are asking, we will be there to replace them," he said, according to reports.
Giffords retired from Congress last year, and since then she and Kelly have acted as formidable proponents of stricter gun control. They founded a political action committee, Americans for Responsible Solutions, to support legislators who favor gun control and to fight back against the National Rifle Association.
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