An open letter to Sen. Butler, Sen. Padilla.
  1. United States
  2. Calif.
  3. Letter

An Open Letter

To: Sen. Butler, Sen. Padilla

From: A verified voter in Los Angeles, CA

July 8

As Congress begin consideration of the Fiscal Year 2025 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies appropriations legislation, I urge you to not include the Kennedy Amendment (Section 413) of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2024. Section 413 is an enormous threat to the safety and well-being of veterans and their beneficiaries who are at a heightened risk of harm to themselves or others; it undermines the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA’s) ability to prevent these individuals from accessing firearms; and it weakens the background check system, one of the most important tools we have to prevent gun violence. American veterans are disproportionately impacted by the suicide crisis, with more than 6,500 veterans dying by suicide each year, and more than 70% of veterans' suicides involving firearms, compared with 48% of all suicides nationwide. In general, easy access to firearms greatly increases the risk of death by suicide, since the presence of a firearm significantly increases the risk that a suicide attempt will be fatal. Data suggests that the elevated level of suicide amongst the veteran population is associated with veterans’ greater access to and use of firearms in suicide attempts. Limiting access to guns for veterans and other VA beneficiaries who may be in crisis by reporting them to the background check system is a critical step to help keep them safe. Please get rid of the Kennedy Amendment! Thank you for your consideration.

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