Below The Radar: Post-9/11 Veteran Suicide Prevention Counseling Act

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United States – -( We have often covered seemingly innocuous legislation introduced by members of Congress whose record of anti-Second Amendment extremism warrants opposition to those legislative proposals. This is the case with HR 6453, introduced by Mike Quigley, whose anti-Second Amendment track record warrants that any proposal he is attached to be strictly scrutinized, and based on that track record, I urged loyal AmmoLand readers to politely urge their elected officials to defeat that legislation.

That being said, there are times where a measure should be considered by Second Amendment supporters despite a questionable sponsor. One such measure is S 2822, the Post-9/11 Veteran Suicide Prevention Counseling Act. Now, the primary sponsor is Senator Tammy Duckworth, who introduced the Senate version of the Blair Holt Firearms Licensing and Record Of Sale Act, so we have one reason to look at this bill very closely and skepticism is justified.

But reading the actual bill is very easily done, as the PDF version is all of three pages. To put it simply, this bill requires the Department of Veterans Affairs to develop a training course for “suicide risk management and prevention and lethal means” within six months and to update it every two years.

That is a laudable, innocuous-sounding goal. A look at the text shows that this innocuous-sounding bill has a land-mine, but one Second Amendment supporters actually benefit from. How?

All you need to do is to look at some of those the VA needs to consult with under this bill’s provisions. Here, unlike HR 6453, there is very good news on the Second Amendment front. Not only do you have the requirement that the training be developed in consultation with various government agencies, as well as professional associations, and experts in the field, the legislation specifically states that “gun ownership groups” are to be included in the development of the training programs.

Why? According to the bill, the reason is “to reduce the stigma associated with firearm ownership and safe storage.” Furthermore, any course developed should be “culturally appropriate” while at the same time addressing “the concerns of firearm owners.” Hmm… now what group would jump to mind when you think of gun ownership groups? Can anyone say, “National Rifle Association?” How about the “National Shooting Sports Foundation?”

Now, as noted earlier, Duckworth has a bad track record on Second Amendment issues. But with this legislation, she just made some huge concessions that Second Amendment supporters should seize as soon as possible.

First, in an era where the social stigmatization of the Second Amendment is going on full-bore, it is good to see a lawmaker introduce legislation that makes any effort to counter it. We can be angry that such efforts are needed. We can regret that such stigmatization exists. But to pass up any effort to counter the stigmatization of a constitutional right because of Duckworth’s poor track record and the bad legislation she introduced is folly.

If anything, Duckworth’s track record is something to seize on when it comes to opposing the social stigmatization of our Second Amendment rights. When a Second Amendment champion like Ted Cruz argues against stigmatizing gun owners, it can be blown off by the media. But when Tammy Duckworth can admit that gun ownership shouldn’t be stigmatized, it becomes easier to make the case for pro-Second Amendment proposals and to defeat anti-Second Amendment proposals with the general public.

Second, with Second Amendment supporters at the table, we can make real progress on a crucial issue (reducing the number of suicides in general, and particularly those involving firearms) and be seen by our fellow Americans doing so. Not only are we doing the right thing, we are also undercutting the rhetoric from the likes of Bloomberg, Andrew Cuomo, Schumer, or even Joe Biden. In fact, the tables can be turned on them, asking them if they hate Second Amendment supporters so much they’d let veterans commit suicide rather than let pro-Second Amendment groups help lower those tragic numbers.

It goes without saying that Second Amendment supporters should contact their Senators and Representative and politely urge them to support S 2822. Duckworth may have a bad track record on Second Amendment issues, but S 2822 is one bill of hers that Second Amendment supporters should be backing.

About Harold Hutchison

Writer Harold Hutchison has more than a dozen years of experience covering military affairs, international events, U.S. politics, and Second Amendment issues. Harold was consulting senior editor at Soldier of Fortune magazine and is the author of the novel Strike Group Reagan. He has also written for the Daily Caller, National Review, Patriot Post,, and other national websites.

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“ Hmm… now what group would jump to mind when you think of gun ownership groups? Can anyone say, “National Rifle Association?” How about the “National Shooting Sports Foundation?” Can anyone say, “Everytown for Gun Safety?” How about the “Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence?” Ever hear of “Americans for Responsible Solutions?” I don’t trust an anti-gunner to “compromise” on anything, that’s the RINO’s job! Sounds reasonable but the bill doesn’t define “gun ownership” groups quite like you do. To them, The Brady Campaign IS a gun ownership group. Until the bill strictly defines “gun ownership” groups as groups actually… Read more »