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Former Astronaut Helps Launch Ohio Gun-Control Advocate Group

photo of Mark Kelly

A group of advocates is pushing for more gun safety legislation, even as state lawmakers are debating several pro-gun bills. The Ohio Coalition for Common Sense brought in a notable name for their launch.

Former astronaut Mark Kelly is a gun owner, married to another gun owner – former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords of Arizona, who survived being shot in the head while she was meeting with constituents in a shopping center parking lot in 2011. The couple now advocates for gun regulations.

Kelly says the costs of gun violence in Ohio in medical expenses, lost wages, law enforcement and prosecution are huge.

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


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. But Kelly notes there’s a lot of enthusiasm on the gun rights side. Several bills at the Statehouse would expand gun owners’ rights, including eliminating permits to carry concealed weapons for most adults. 

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.