"When you meet face to face with somebody who recently lost their 6- or 7-year-old child in a classroom from a man who unloaded 150 rounds in about five minutes, it's difficult to look that person in the face and say, 'Yeah, we're not going to do anything about that,'" Kelly said.
"The same goes for what happened to Gabby," Kelly continued. "Six of her constituents were murdered, 12 were injured, she was nearly assassinated two and a half years ago at a grocery store doing her job, and what did Congress do? What'd they do? They didn't do anything."
Next on Kelly's list was Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., who served with Giffords as a member of their state's House delegation. Flake announced last night on his Facebook page that he would oppose the Manchin-Toomey compromise to expand background checks.
"He is a friend of Gabby's. I don't think this is over with him," Kelly told reporters at this morning's breakfast. "When I explain to him in person why his concerns with this bill are unfounded, I think we can get him to come around."
If Flake votes against the bill, Kelly said his group, Americans for Responsible Solutions, would consider funding an opponent when Flake runs for re-election in 2018.
"Friendship is one thing," Kelly said. "Saving people's lives, especially first-graders', is another."