Call Your Senators! Tell Them To Protect The Lives Of Our Veterans!

In 1975, while attending graduate school at USC, I met the Vietnam veteran who would become my husband. He had been a medic in the war and was attending school on the GI bill. Our relationship, which lasted over 25 years, finally ended when his mental illness could no longer be accommodated or ignored.

My husband was a typical veteran, loath to speak of the horrors he had seen and refusing to accept that the horrors had an impact on his mental health. Also, like many with a chronic condition, consistent and long term use of medicines and treatment that helped him fight his depression were cast aside as soon as he felt better — no longer needed as he was now “well.”

I share this story because my heart is breaking as this current federal administration continues on its path to put guns in the hands of the mentally ill, first with those senior citizens diagnosed mentally ill and receiving social security benefits and now with our veterans who have been diagnosed as severely mentally ill.

While other countries have taken action to reduce suicide among their military and veterans (Israel stopped soldiers from bringing their rifles home on weekends resulting in a 40% decrease in suicides) our politicians are saying “Thank you for your service,” to our brave veterans and then giving them easy access to the guns that may kill them.

Facts matter.

  • In 2014, while veterans were less than 9% of the U.S. population, they accounted for 18% of all deaths from suicide among adult.
  • 66% of all veteran deaths from suicide were the result of firearms.
  • 65% of all veterans who died from suicide were aged 50 years or older.
  • After adjusting for differences in age and gender, risk for suicide was over 20% higher among veterans when compared to U.S. civilian adults.

Last week we tried to stop the House of Representatives from passing HR1181 (cynically called the Veteran’s 2nd Amendment Protection Act.) We asked you to join with our nation’s military leaders and veteran’s groups to protect our veterans AND YOU DID! But despite your calls, emails, and letters the House passed this deadly legislation. It is now on its way to the Senate where we believe we have a better chance to stop this legislation that will allow guns to be purchased and owned by veterans who are suffering from acute PTSD and other forms of mental illness.

HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP!

This week, call both your Senators and tell them to vote NO to putting guns in the hands of our mentally ill veterans!

Find My Senator

Need help with what to say?
Hi, My name is XXX. I live in the state you represent. Last week the House passed HR1181 – a dangerous piece of legislation that threatens the safety of our veterans! When the Senate considers this legislation, I want you to VOTE NO to putting guns in the hands of our mentally ill veterans.

After you’ve made your calls, please share this with your family and friends!

About the Author

Margot Bennett
Margot BennettExecutive Director,
Women Against Gun Violence