Retired Gen. David Petraeus announced Friday he’s partnering with former astronaut Mark Kelly to create a gun control group for veterans.
Petraeus’ past is still marked by his history of leaking classified information to his biographer-turned-mistress, though this new effort might be seen as an attempt to rehabilitate his reputation among vets. The idea behind the group is to curb rampant veteran suicide rates. Department of Veterans Affairs data indicates that 22 veterans commit suicide every single day, and about two-thirds of those deaths take place by firearm, The Hill reports.
Petraeus’ new group is called the Veterans Coalition for Common Sense, and it’s attracting support from other former military leaders, namely former CIA Director Michael Hayden and retired Adm. Thad Allen. There are 23 veterans in total on the advisory committee. The goal of the group is to push legislation that mandates stronger background checks for gun purchases, though Mark Prentice, communications director for Americans for Responsible Solutions, affirmed the importance of the Second Amendment.
“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,” Prentice said.
“As service members, each of us swore an oath to protect our Constitution and the homeland,” Kelly said, according to The Hill. “Now we’re asking our leaders to do more to protect our rights and save lives.”
Kelly got involved with the effort after his wife, former Democratic Rep. Gabby Giffords, was shot in the head while at a constituent event in Tucson, Arizona.
“Gabby and I are grateful to all of these incredible veterans and leaders who are using their voice to call for common sense change that makes our communities safer,” Kelly said.
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