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In the Midst of a Veteran Suicide Epidemic, Everytown Responds to Gun Lobby-Backed Proposal That Would Put More Veterans with Severe Mental Illness in Danger

March 8, 2017

With a Veterans Suicide Rate 20 Percent Higher Than Civilians, New Legislation Would Remove More Than 170,000 Records of Veterans with Severe Mental Illness Who Are Prohibited from Purchasing Firearms from the Background Check System, Allowing Them to Buy Guns

H.R. 1181 is Latest Gun Lobby Attempt to Rollback Existing Gun Laws; Last Week President Trump Signed Repeal of Rule Requiring Submission of Records into Background Check System for Social Security Recipients Prohibited from Buying Guns Because of Severe Mental Illness

WASHINGTON – Everytown for Gun Safety, the country’s largest gun violence prevention organization, released the following statement today in response to new gun lobby-backed legislation – House Resolution 1181 – that, in the midst of a suicide epidemic amongst U.S. veterans, would put more vets in danger by removing from the background check system more than 170,000 records of veterans with severe mental illness who are prohibited from purchasing guns, allowing them to buy firearms again.

As the country experiences a veteran suicide rate that is more than 20 percent higher than civilian Americans, H.R. 1181 would effectively repeal the law that blocks Veterans Affairs beneficiaries from possessing or purchasing firearms if, after they have received due process and a formal hearing, they have been found mentally incompetent. According to the VA, there are more than 170,000 prohibiting records for these beneficiaries already in the background check system and under this legislation, those records would be removed entirely and no longer lead to a failed background check.

This is the second attempt to rollback existing gun laws in the new Congress. Last week, President Donald Trump signed into law a repeal of the Social Security Administration rule on record submission to the background check system for disability recipients prohibited from possessing guns due to significant mental illness.


“This gun lobby-backed proposal turns a blind eye to our country’s suicide crisis in which, on average, 20 veterans take their lives every day – and two-thirds of those suicides are carried out with firearms. This bill would put more veterans in danger by allowing vets suffering from severe mental illness who are prohibited from purchasing guns to buy them again. But the gun lobby isn’t concerned about that – they care about advancing their extremist ‘guns for everyone’ agenda. In fact, this is their second effort to weaken our background check system in this Congress by removing records of people prohibited from buying guns because of significant mental illness. Congress must reject this dangerous legislation and stand by the brave men and women who have put their lives on the line for our country.”

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