Former CIA director General David Petraeus and retired astronaut Mark Kelly announced that they are joining forces to create a new gun control group for veterans.
Petraeus is collaborating with Kelly to form “The Veterans Coalition for Common Sense”, an anti-gun group that appears to be a spin-off of the multi-state “Coalition for Common Sense” and “Americans for Responsible Solutions”, a series of control organizations propped up by Kelly and his wife, Gabrielle Giffords.
Launched on Friday, the organization claims that it will push for more gun control legislation in order to prevent veteran suicides and gun tragedies, citing gun violence and military suicide statistics.
According to The Guardian, the coalition’s advisory committee includes 23 veterans from every branch of the military, including Petraeus, Stanley McChrystal and former NSA director Michael Hayden.
“This is a group of leaders who support the second amendment and who believe in the rights of responsible people, law-abiding people, to own guns,” said Mark Prentice, communications director of the new Coalition’s parent group, Americans for Responsible Solutions.
Prentice said that while veterans are the nation’s experts on firearms due to their training, “we we also believe that we should be doing everything we can to keep guns out of the wrong hands and help address gun suicides as well.”
In addition, the group also wishes to strengthen existing gun control laws, as well as pursuing “background check loopholes”, the often-used argument cited by gun control groups in support for Universal Background Checks, or UBCs.
“Many of these veterans have seen the role guns play in the hands of trained responsible people but they also understand the consequences when they fall into the wrong hands,” said Prentice.
According to Coalition advisor Rear Admiral Jamie Barnett, his experience as Deputy Commander of the Navy showed him that sailors needed extensive training to use firearms.
“I saw first-hand the incredible power of firearms, and I know the precautions we taught to keep people safe,” Barnett said. “But I also know the dangers guns pose when they are in the hands of dangerous people.”
Coalition committee member Brigadier General Stephen Cheney says while he believes that “our laws don’t support responsible gun ownership and far too often guns fall into the hands of dangerous, irresponsible people.”
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