Brady: Vets can lead the discussion on gun violence

Eye on Veterans
August 09, 2019 - 2:17 pm
Navy vet Chad Keuser uses a mock M4 assault rifle in simulator at the new high tech Center for the Intrepid rehab center for wounded veterans at Brooke Army Medical Center March 1, 2007 in San Antonio, Texas.

(Photo by Ben Sklar/Getty Images)

When mass shootings like those recently in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio occur the national discussion over gun violence and control takes center stage.

One of the organizations making sure their voice is heard is Brady.  

Formerly the The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, they are focused on reducing gun violence by 25% with a target date of 2025. 

It's an achievable goal, according to Marine Corps vet Kyleanne Hunter, Brady's VP for Programs. But for it to be reached, many things need to change. First and foremost, Brady believes there needs to be a change in the discussions surrounding guns. For that to happen Hunter says there are a couple of groups that need to be major players in those talks. One of which is our nation's military veterans.

Members of the American Legion Post 220 prepare for a rifle salute during a Veterans Days ceremony November 11, 2004 in Chicago, Illinois. About 30 people gathered for the small ceremony on the eastern edge of the city.
Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

"These aren't easy conversations to have," Hunter said during an appearance on the Eye on Veterans radio show. "You have to push yourself outside your comfort zone. But especially as veterans we are used to doing the hard things. And I view it now as our responsibility, and our continued responsibility to our fellow Americans, to be leading the charge in having these hard conversations about the practical steps we take to end family fire."

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According to Hunter, a decorated attack helicopter pilot, the fastest track to reducing gun violence is to promote proper gun safety and storage, something vets know all about. 

"We are very familiar with these weapons," Hunter said. "We understand how they work, we understand the risks of them. We are taught a very, very deep respect for these weapons."

One of the reasons why Hunter believes it would be beneficial for veterans to get involved in gun control discussions. 

"One of the most important things we can do is to be the objective, rational voice," Hunter said. "And to not be used as inflammatory rhetoric on either side of the conversation." 

Before you have a gun debate, make sure your terminology is correct

You can hear the full interview with Kyleanne Hunter below. 

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Follow Eric Dehm on Twitter @EricDehm

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