My father committed suicide with a shotgun to the head on December 15, 2003. He was a Vietnam War veteran suffering with bipolar disorder. He took his life on one of the back roads at Fort Indiantown Gap, PA. A hiker found him in his van. My father's head was gone, completely blown off. Having spent time in and out of mental hospitals, he himself was not able to buy a gun from a store; he bought the gun from an acquaintence who sold it directly to him. I do not know who sold it to him, but what I do know is that my father's life would have been even shorter if he had been able to simply walk into a store and purchase a gun himself. I am writing to you today on behalf of all the families of mentally ill veterans and in opposition of H.R. 1181.
H.R. 1181, a bill that would allow severely mentally ill VA beneficiaries to buy guns, is up for a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives today (Wednesday).
H.R. 1181 would make it nearly impossible for the Department of Veterans Affairs to add veterans who have been declared mentally incompetent to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to prohibit them from purchasing firearms. These are individuals who receive disability payments for severe mental illness. H.R. 1181 would also allow 174,000 mentally incompetent veterans who are already in NICS to buy guns immediately.
PLEASE REMEMBER MY FATHER and the PAIN I HAVE ENDURED FOR THE PAST 13 YEARS and vote AGAINST THIS BILL. Please, also take into consideration the following:
1) We are losing MORE THAN 20 VETERANS A DAY TO SUICIDE and this reckless bill, H.R. 1181, threatens to increase that number.
2) Our Founders DID NOT ratify the Second Amendment so that severely mentally ill Americans could buy guns.
3) I am watching how you vote on this legislation and if you vote YES I will do everything in my power--peacefully and democratically--to remove you from elected office, to include calling your donors and confronting you with tough questions at your public events.
Amy S. Keller
Lebanon, PA 17042