• Congressman Mike Thompson Rep. (D-CA 5th District) of St. Helena, left, hands more ammunition to retired Navy captain, combat pilot and Space Shuttle commander Mark Kelly (husband of Gabrielle Dee "Gabby" Giffords) as Kelly prepares to shoot clay pigeons with other gun owners at the Napa Police shooting range in Napa, Friday July 16, 2013. Thompson is the chair of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2013

However, an identical measure failed earlier this year in the Senate when it didn't receive enough Republican votes. It was unclear whether Thompson's legislation, co-authored by Rep. Pete King, R-N.Y., would fare better.

"It's going to be hard," said Thompson, chairman of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. "I'd like to get it before the next election."

In an effort to show broad voter support, Thompson hosted Kelly and local gun owners at the firing range Friday.

Rep. Mike Thompson And Mark Kelly In Napa


They all shot clay pigeons. Thompson, a Vietnam veteran, proved to be a dead shot in pink-tinted safety glasses. Kelly wasn't half-bad, either.

"I figured you could shoot," Thompson told him.

Others voiced their support for the two men.

Matt Schiefferly, who owns a Napa gun shop, said background checks already are required in California, but it is too easy for people to drive across state lines or get on the Internet and buy guns.

Thompson's bill would change all that, he said.

"It's something I think we need," he said.

Susan Rinehart, a gun club member in Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino counties, said everyone she's talked to is for it.

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