As Capt. Mark Kelly took the stage at the University of Pennsylvania, members of the U.S. Senate began to vote.
As Kelly, an astronaut and husband to an almost-assassinated politician, spoke to Penn students and educators about gun violence prevention, Sen. Pat Toomey's bill for more thorough background checks was shot down.
Almost sensing the inevitable result, Kelly lamented, "Sadly ... support is not growing fast enough." Kelly said opponents denounce the background check legislation, saying it won't solve the problem of gun violence.
"It's true, no single legislation will end all gun violence," he said. "But if it does stop some gun violence, isn't it worth it?"
His wife, former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, was shot in the head in the parking lot of a Tuscon, Ariz. supermarket.
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The goal for future gun laws is to protect gun rights while preventing gun violence, Kelly said. "Our rights are not the strongest when our laws are weakest," he said. "And when our laws are weak, our families are not safe."