SARASOTA, Fla. - He has the credential to take the spotlight himself, having flown combat missions over Iraq and having piloted the Space Shuttle.
But Cpt. Mark Kelly now finds himself in the spotlight for an entirely different reason, one he could never have seen coming.
In January, 2011, Cpt. Kelly's wife, US Congresswoman Garbielle Giffords, was shot by a crazed gunman in a mass shooting.
Combined with the mass shootings at a movie theater in Aurora Colorado, and another at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, Kelly and his wife are leading the charge to find common ground for gun control.
Kelly believes most Americans can agree on universal background checks.
Kelly brought that message, along with tales of his military and space career, to a sold-out show Monday at the Van Wezel Preforming Arts Center in Sarasota.
Prior to the show, he sat down with a group of reporters to tell them his wife was on the road to recovery, and that is what they are focused on.
But in the media, their focus has been on gun control, an issue he admits is not an easy one to work through.
"It's a complicated problem," he said. "I mean why is it in countries that have very few guns, like Japan, there are very few murders with guns, and in a country like Switzerland, where everybody has a gun, there are very few murders with guns."
But he maintains, in our country, he feels the starting point has to be universal background checks, saying, "I think there is a really good opportunity now to pass a universal background check. And I think that is the most important thing we can do right now to save some people's lives."