Already an abundance of emotional and compelling moments have happened ahead of this weekend, before the March for Our Lives officially kicked off Saturday in Washington, DC, and around the world. This public service announcement by the group Veterans for Gun Reform is one of those moments.
Director Kyle Hausmann–Stokes, who served in the Army in Iraq, said he made a film with fellow veterans who have had enough with military–grade weapons too easily winding up in the hands of civilians in the U.S.
“I carried an M4 in the military. It was a very scary thing to see just how efficient and powerful and dangerous it was. It was developed for one reason—to be a weapon of war made for creating carnage and doing so in a way that you don’t have to stop to reload,” Hausmann–Stokes said, according to a series focused on gun violence created by the file–transfer service WeTransfer, called WePresent.
Hausmann–Stokes said he watched as high–powered rifles were used in mass shootings across the country, from Sandy Hook to Las Vegas. “I think when Parkland happened, it was a breaking point,” he said, according to WePresent. The common denominator in many of these shootings was the AR–15, the “civilian version of what we carried.”
One of the reasons Hausmann–Stokes made the PSA is because he felt the voices of many veterans were missing in the debates on gun violence and reform. But those voices exist, and many of them have the ability to authoritatively speak out on both gun control and the 2nd Amendment. In fact, it wasn’t hard to find vets who were eager to participate in the PSA, he said.
“It was familial in that way,” he said. “The sidebar conversations you would pick up between this 65-year-old Navy Seal from Vietnam speaking to a 25-year-old Iraq veteran. That, in and of itself, was just really special to bring those people together.”