The Giffords Veteran Coalition released its inaugural video Monday in hopes of rallying support for stricter gun laws via encouragement from some of the nation’s most decorated military veterans, including former Central Intelligence Agency Director Michael Hayden.
“I’ve seen the effects of violence. There are some weapons out there that frankly nobody should have access to,” he said Monday. “And actually, there are some people out there who should never have access to any weapons. No one is challenging the right of the American people to keep and bear arms. That heritage, which I deeply respect, does not require us to be unintelligent about this.”
Hayden, a four-star general, retired from the U.S. Air Force in 2008. He’s since served in leadership roles at the National Security Agency and the CIA, as well as contributed national security analysis for CNN.
“When you witness some of the things that have happened in our society, the innocent being killed, I’ve got to say as a veteran, there is no other side to this argument,” he said.
“This campaign seeks to change the narratives that often prevent informed gun violence prevention discussions” said Stasha Rhodes, director of engagement for Giffords. “The debate on guns has forced Americans to choose a side – right or left, gun safety or gun lobby. However, when it comes to preventing gun violence, there is no other side. Veterans’ voices are uniquely positioned to make the point – that protecting Americans cannot be a partisan issue.”
The new campaign comes 24 hours after a mass shooting at a video game competition in Jacksonville, Florida left three dead and 11 wounded. Two professional gamers — Taylor Robertson, 28, and Elijah Clayton, 22 — died when a third competitor, 24-year-old Dave Katz, opened fire at the Madden 19 Classic tournament Sunday afternoon. The shooter then turned the gun on himself moments before law enforcement arrived. So far, investigators have released no motive for the attack.
Brady Campaign co-presidents Kris Brown and Avery Gardiner chastised elected officials in a statement released hours after the shooting Sunday, urging Florida voters to punish gun-friendly primary candidates at the polls this week.
“There are candidates running who are strong and decisive on the issue of gun violence, and candidates who would oversee a system that does nothing to stop dangerous people from accessing guns,” Brown and Gardiner said. “Florida deserves leaders who will take action to prevent gun violence and we hope voters keep this issue a top priority at the ballot box on Tuesday. The time is now to demand the change we seek.”