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More than 6 out of every 10 gun deaths are the result of someone taking their own life. And 22 veterans take their own life each day, most often with a firearm. It makes sense that veterans, who are more familiar with a gun and are also more likely to have a gun in their home, experience much higher than average gun suicide rates.
In an attempt to mitigate this crisis, two people who have personal experience with gun deaths and suicides have come together to create a new group to prevent more tragedies.
Gen. David Petraeus and retired astronaut Mark Kelly announced Friday they are forming a new gun control group for veterans.
The Veterans Coalition for Common Sense will push to strengthen gun background check laws and help prevent veterans from committing suicide. It pointed to several alarming statistics about the military and gun violence.
According to the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), about 22 veterans kill themselves each day. Since September 11, 2001, more Americans have been killed by gun violence than combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“As service members, each of us swore an oath to protect our Constitution and the homeland,” said Kelly, who formed another gun control group with his wife, former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.), after she was shot and seriously wounded during a mass shooting in 2011.
CNN Reports: "Gabby and I are grateful to all of these incredible veterans and leaders who are using their voice to call for commonsense change that makes our communities safer," he added. Petraeus isn't quoted in the release.
A Veterans Health Administration report said nearly 70% of suicides among male veterans were committed with a firearm between 2001 and 2011.