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More Than 80 U.S. Veteran Members of Moms Demand Action, Everytown Release Letter Urging Senate Leaders to Reject H.R. 1181 That Would Put U.S. Veterans in Danger

March 29, 2017

With a Veterans Suicide Rate 20 Percent Higher Than Civilians, H.R. 1181 Would Remove Nearly 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

WASHINGTON – Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a part of Everytown for Gun Safety, today released a letter from more than 80 U.S. military veterans representing more than 30 states urging lawmakers in the Senate to reject H.R. 1181, legislation that would endanger more veterans by removing from the background check system nearly 170,000 records of veterans with severe mental illnesses who are currently prohibited from purchasing guns. The full letter, signed by veterans of the U.S. military who also volunteer with Moms Demand Action, can be found here.

The letter underscores that by removing the data from the background check system, H.R. 1181 would allow veterans who have been deemed mentally incompetent by the Department of Veteran Affairs to purchase guns. The letter also notes access to guns directly affects the safety of veterans, as data shows veterans are at a much higher risk of attempting suicide.

“H.R. 1181 is a dangerous step in the wrong direction. We know that many of these beneficiaries have very serious mental health diagnoses, and cannot safely possess a firearm. There are far too many veterans in this group for whom access to a firearm is an irreversible danger.

“Many of us mourn friends, family and fellow soldiers to gun suicides. Data shows recent veterans who were on active duty during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have a markedly higher risk of suicide than the general population – a 41 percent higher suicide risk among deployed veterans and a 61 percent higher risk among those not deployed.

“Our government owes the men and women who have put their lives on the line for our country the respect and care we provide for this country —and that includes keeping us safe at home. Anything less is frankly, unpatriotic.”

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