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Gun Control Group Launches In Ohio, Boosted By Astronaut Mark Kelly

Erin Gottsacker
Astronaut Mark Kelly announces the launch of the Ohio Coalition for Common Sense.

Astronaut Mark Kelly, one of the country’s best-know advocates for gun control, was in Columbus today to launch a new effort, the Ohio Coalition for Common Sense.

Kelly is the husband of Gabby Giffords, the Arizona Congresswoman who famously survived an assassination attempt in 2011. The pair - both of whom are gun owners - also co-founded the Americans for Responsible Solutions, a political action committee and advocacy group.

Kelly announced the Ohio coalition - which includes education and health care leaders on its advisory committee - at a press conference Wednesday at the Columbus Metropolitan Club.

Ohio Coalition for Common Sense touts a report that says guns costs Ohio huge in medical expenses, lost wages, law enforcement and prosecution.

"Just in 2015, the price tag of gun violence in Ohio was more than $2.5 billion in directly measurable costs," Kelly says.

Americans For Responsible Solutions put out a ranking last year of states in terms of gun laws, scoring Ohio a D grade for its policies on open carry, background checks and other regulations.

But Kelly says most gun owners and more than 80 percent of Ohioans want Congress to close loopholes that allow no background checks for purchases on the internet or at gun show.

"We're here to say it's time for our leaders to do more to address the gun violence crisis that is tearing our communities apart, and that makes our country - and Ohio - stand out in the worst of ways," Kelly says.

Kelly does admit there is a lot of enthusiasm on the side of gun rights. In fact, his announcement comes as state lawmakers consider several gun-related bills, including one measure that would do away with the requirement that Ohioans try to retreat before using deadly force.