Admiral James Barnett, Captain Gail Kulisch will testify in support of responsible gun ownership on behalf of group founded by Captain Mark Kelly and former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rear Admiral James Barnett, U.S. Navy (Ret.), and Captain Gail Kulisch, U.S. Coast Guard (Ret.), both Virginia residents, will testify TODAY, January 27, 2014, 8 a.m. EST, in Senate Room B in the General Assembly Building in Richmond, VA, on behalf of Veterans for Responsible Solutions – founded by former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and retired combat veteran and astronaut Captain Mark Kelly – in the Virginia Senate Courts of Justice Committee currently scheduled to hear testimony on Virginia State Senate bills 520 and 510.
SB 520 aims to close the loopholes on the federal background checks law which allows convicted felons, domestic abusers, and the dangerously mentally ill to purchase firearms online or at gun shows without a background check. SB 510 bans gun ownership for five years for individuals convicted of stalking or sexual battery.
“As a citizen who was raised in a community with a strong gun tradition, trained by the U.S. Navy, I believe the right to own a gun comes with great responsibility. No right is violated by a requirement to exercise that right with responsibility and accountability. To ensure that law-abiding citizens take their gun rights seriously and understand how to responsibly use and exchange their weapons, I urge you to put in place common sense safeguards in order to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people,” said Rear Admiral James A. Barnett, US Navy (Ret.) in prepared testimony. Admiral Barnett is a retired surface warfare officer with more than 30 years of experience in the United States Navy and Navy Reserve.
“The responsible gun owners in the state of Virginia can and should consider the most effective and least-intrusive options that protect both our constitutional right to ‘bear arms’ and the right of all citizens to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I ask our elected officials and all Virginians to support improved mental health care and universal background checks. We can do both, and protect all our rights,” said Captain Gail Kulisch, U.S. Coast Guard (Ret.), in prepared testimony. Captain Kulisch served 28 years in the United States Coast Guard and helped lead response and recovery operations for Ground Zero after the 9-11 terrorist attacks.
Veterans for Responsible Solutions, a national constituency of retired flag officers and senior officers, and former enlisted service members of the U.S. Armed Forces, launched in November of 2013. The group – which now has more than 600 former service members from all branches and ranks – supports responsible gun ownership policies and measures to reduce gun violence. Veterans can join online: action.americansforresponsiblesolutions.org/veterans
The launch of Veterans for Responsible Solutions comes after leading veterans joined 100,000 ARS members calling on Congress to take action to reduce gun violence following the tragic mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard, which left 12 dead. Veterans of the Iraq War, Afghanistan War, Vietnam War, Korean War, and World War II are represented.