Distinguished Military & Intelligence Leaders Endorse Collins-Heitkamp Amendment

Two former CIA directors and two former special operations commanders are among those endorsing bipartisan legislation to help keep guns from terrorists, make America safer

Washington, D.C.—Former CIA Directors General Petraeus and General Michael Hayden, along with former special operations commanders General Stanley McChrystal and Admiral Eric Olson, joined other prominent former leaders of the military and intelligence communities in publishing an open letter on Thursday urging support for a bipartisan amendment introduced by U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Heidi Heitkamp to help keep guns from terrorists and make America safer.  These leaders have been at the forefront of America’s counterterrorism efforts and know firsthand the threat terrorism poses to the United States. 

“As a group, we put service above politics. There is a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators that is doing the same thing,” the former national security leaders wrote.  “Led by Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine and Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, they have crafted a compromise bill that would prevent suspected terrorists on two lists, the no-fly list and the selectee list, from legally buying guns, while providing critical protections for due process of law.”

“Importantly, this legislation also protects the Second Amendment rights of law abiding, responsible Americans,” they continued.  “Had this bill been law, the FBI might have been able to detect and stop the Orlando killer.”

“This distinguished group of military leaders has been on the front lines in the fight against terrorism,” said Senator Collins.  “I am so honored to have their strong support for the bipartisan amendment that was considered by the Senate yesterday that would help keep terrorists from buying firearms, while protecting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans.”

“These prominent military and intelligence leaders know firsthand the importance of making sure terrorists aren’t able to purchase guns,” said Senator Heitkamp. “Their strong support reinforces how our compromise legislation is continuing to build support not just from both Republicans and Democrats in Congress, but also from those who have led and served on the front lines. By striking a needed balance between protecting the Second Amendment and helping keep guns out of the hands of potential terrorists, we’ll continue to work to gather more support for our legislation.”

The letter was signed by:

Admiral Thad Allen, USCG (Ret.)

General Peter W. Chiarelli, USA (Ret.)

General Wesley Clark, USA (Ret.)

General Michael V. Hayden, USAF (Ret.)

General James T. Hill, USA (Ret.)

Admiral James M. Loy, USCG (Ret.)

General Stanley A. McChrystal, USA (Ret.)

Admiral Eric T. Olson, USN (Ret.)

General David Petraeus, USA (Ret.)

General William E. Ward, USA (Ret.)

Vice Admiral Lee Gunn, USN (Ret.)

Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, USA (Ret.)

Lieutenant General Russel Honoré, USA (Ret.)

Senators Collins and Heitkamp’s commonsense, bipartisan proposal was supported by a majority of Senators in a procedural vote yesterday.  Their legislation is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Angus King (I-ME), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Mark Warner (D-VA).

Click HERE to read the letter 

Click HERE to read a summary of the bipartisan amendment