Edmonds Military Wire: Veterans seek to curb gun violence

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Americans for Responsible Solutions recently announced a new initiative “Veterans Coalition for Common Sense,” to do more to “prevent gun tragedies.”

The Christian Science Monitor first reported on this new coalition and highlighted that the group “includes on its advisory committee Gen. David Petraeus, as well as Gen. Stanley McChrystal, former commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan and longtime head of U.S. Joint Special Operations Forces (the command responsible for Delta Force and the Navy SEALS), and Adm. Eric Olson, the first Navy SEAL ever to be promoted to a four-star rank.”

To be clear, Veterans Coalition for Common Sense is not to be confused with the longstanding national organization Veterans for Common Sense, (VCS), founded in 2002 by a group of war veterans that has been active in supporting current and former military service members, educating the media and the public, testifying before Congress more than 30 times, and has been frequently quoted in the national press.

A 2013 poll of military veterans found strong support for moves such as mandatory background checks on gun buyers (at 91 percent), and a ban on assault-style weapons (58 percent).

The Global Strategy Group poll found that, even as a plurality of the vets had a favorable view of the National Rifle Association (NRA), 85 percent agreed with the statement “we can protect responsible gun owners’ Second Amendment rights while still making it more difficult for criminals and other dangerous people to obtain guns.”

The argument that continues to be raised among those who are opponents of new gun-control measures is that criminals will circumvent the laws surrounding gun-control and that trained, law-abiding gun carriers can prevent and even stop crimes.

The military vets campaigning for tougher gun laws say that they are aware of these arguments. “But not being able to prevent every tragedy is not a reason not to try to prevent some of them,” stated Shawn VanDiver, a U.S. Navy veteran who is a member of the coalition’s advisory committee.

The challenge that continues to emerge is that even law-abiding citizens — those even highly trained — are being barred from gun ownership.

Presently, over 127,000 veterans have been placed on the federal gun registry criminal check system because they have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or a traumatic brain injury (TBI). They are now unable to own a firearm.

The reason often provided is that this measure prevents some veteran suicide.

This debate is far from over and will likely continue to be a topic of discussion and banter in VFW halls and legislative chambers across America.

And while the debate rages, those who disregard the law or maneuver around it, will continue to commit heinous violent acts — sometimes with guns, sometimes with knifes, and sometimes with bombs.

Something to consider: In the 4-10 minutes it typically takes first responders to arrive on scene, how do you plan to protect yourself?

– By Michael Schindler

Michael SchindlerMichael Schindler, Navy veteran, and president of Edmonds-based Operation Military Family, is a guest writer for several national publications, author of the book “Operation Military Family” and “The Military Wire” blog. He is also a popular keynote and workshop speaker who reaches thousands of service members and their families every year through workshops and seminars that include “How to Battle-Ready Your Relationship” or “What Your Mother-in-Law Didn’t Tell You.” He received the 2010 Outstanding Patriotic Service Award from the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs.

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