Astronaut Kelly: 'Gabby better every day'
Astronaut Kelly: ‘Gabby better every day’

By DONNA BALANCIA — APRIL 14, 2013 — Gabrielle Giffords, the former congresswoman critically wounded by a gunman while making a speech in a Tucson-area shopping center, is making progress each day, husband and former Shuttle Endeavor Commander Mark Kelly told CBS’  ”Face The Nation” on Sunday.

“Gabby works hard at rehabilitation,” Kelly said. “She’s re-energized by being involved with something that will improve people’s lives.”

Kelly spoke in support of a proposed bill that would expand background checks on those who want to buy a gun.

The bill, co-sponsored by Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Republican Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, aims to close the loophole that exists when criminals or mentally ill people want to buy a gun at a gun show or online.

“We need to get the members to actually read the 49-page bill,” Kelly said.

Kelly quoted estimates that show 40 percent of guns bought at gun shows or on the Internet are completed without a background check.

“You know, for such a long time, the government has been prevented from analyzing data,” Kelly said. “In the space industry, in the space program, we make every decision based on good and reliable data. So, we need to look at that data and see where else — you know, where else can we be effective at saving people’s lives and protecting them from this horrific gun violence that we see every year.”

Giffords was shot on Jan. 8, 2011 during a speech in a shopping center near Tucson, Ariz.  Six people were killed and 13 were injured during the attack, believed to be an assassination attempt on Gifford’s life.

Among those killed during the massacre were Arizona District Court Judge John Roll, Giffords’ staffer Gabe Zimmerman and Christina-Taylor Green, a 9-year-old.

Giffords subsequently resigned her seat as a member of the United States House of Representatives representing of Arizona’s eighth congressional district.

Kelly, who resigned from NASA on Oct. 1, 2011, is a former astronaut.  He was commander of the Shuttle Endeavor on its final mission, STS-134, on May 16, 2011 and Giffords made the trip to Kennedy Space Center to watch her husband’s last flight.

Endeavor is on display at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. Shuttle Atlantis Exhibit is expected to be unveiled at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex on Florida’s Space Coast, on June 29.