5th District Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty called on Congress to reject a bill called “Veterans 2nd Amendment Rights Protection Act”. Esty says the bill would severely undercut the current process the Veterans Administration uses to identify veterans who are prohibited from gun ownership because of mental health concerns.
Esty was backed in her effort by Captain Mark Kelly, a Navy combat veteran, who co-founded Americans for Responsible Solutions with his wife, former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords.
Esty noted that the decision to end a life is often spontaneous, that's why she wants limited access to firearms to those in crisis, like veterans suffering from PTSD.
Esty is concerned that the bill would upend the bipartisan compromise agreed to in the 21st Century Cures Act, which was passed three months ago. The Act created a system to ensure due process for veterans, allowing beneficiaries to present evidence from a mental health professional and be represented by counsel at incompetency hearings.
Esty said 20 veterans die by suicide per day, the vast majority by firearm.
Former CIA director and retired Army General David Petraeus also opposed the bill, saying it would make it easier, not harder, for veterans in crisis to get access to a firearm.
The bill was approved on a vote of 240 to 175.