CSGV Statement: Veterans Bill Rushed Through House; Passes on Mostly Party Line Vote
Hastily Passed HR 1181 Could Restore Firearms to Veterans at Risk of Suicide
WASHINGTON, D.C. (March 16, 2017) – House Republicans just checked off another item on the National Rifle Association (NRA)’s legislative to-do list. By a vote of 240-175, Republicans passed HR 1181, a bill that could ultimately result in the automatic restoration of firearms to tens of thousands of veterans who may pose a danger to themselves.
The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV) is concerned that HR 1181 would retroactively remove individuals from the National Instant Background Checks System (NICS). Given the high rate of suicide among veterans, retroactively removing individuals from NICS could put veterans in danger. Additionally, in its present form, HR 1181 does not outline a process to determine whether retroactively removed individuals are, in fact, at risk of harming themselves or others.
During the Veterans Affairs Committee hearing, the bill’s sponsor Chairman Phil Roe (R-TN) was not able to adequately clarify whether the policy would be retroactive. Despite this confusion, the bill was hastily pushed through the House, appeasing the NRA.
Coalition to Stop Gun Violence Executive Director Josh Horwitz issued the following statement:
“HR 1181 is a poorly written, irresponsible, half-baked piece of legislation that is essentially a blank check for the NRA. The language in this bill is so broad and confusing that its own sponsor cannot explain how it would work. It would put veterans who are at risk of suicide in danger, yet Republicans are scrambling to ram the bill through without consideration of these heroes’ lives. Instead of rushing this vote, Chairman Roe should have done his due diligence by returning HR 1181 to the Veterans Affairs committee, holding a proper hearing, and providing this vital issue with the attention it deserves. The bottom line is Trump and his Republican allies in Congress are putting veterans’ lives at risk to advance the gun lobby’s extreme agenda. We encourage members of the Senate to provide clarity on HR 1181 as the bill moves into their chamber.”
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