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Petraeus, rarely, if ever, speaks publicly on domestic political issues

The coalition features veterans from every branch of the military

Washington CNN  — 

Retired U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus, who has long resisted calls to run for political office, is teaming up with retired NASA astronaut Mark Kelly to create a new group urging greater gun control.

The two announced on Friday that they were launching Veterans Coalition for Common Sense to encourage elected leaders to “do more to prevent gun tragedies.” The group will feature veterans from every branch of the military who are urging lawmakers to toughen gun laws, the organization said in a news release.

“As service members, each of us swore an oath to protect our Constitution and the homeland. Now we’re asking our leaders to do more to protect our rights and save lives,” said Kelly, the husband of former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and co-founder of Americans for Responsible Solutions, a group that advocates for tougher gun laws.

“Gabby and I are grateful to all of these incredible veterans and leaders who are using their voice to call for commonsense change that makes our communities safer,” he added. Petraeus isn’t quoted in the release.

RELATED: Mark Kelly: Obama is right to act on guns

Petraeus, who resigned as CIA director in November 2012 when it emerged that he was having an extramarital affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, rarely, if ever, speaks publicly on domestic political issues.

Before the Broadwell scandal, Petraeus had been floated as a possible presidential candidate, and this week, Illinois Republican Sen. Mark Kirk said he planned to write in Petraeus this fall over Donald Trump, the presumptive GOP nominee.

A Veterans Health Administration report said nearly 70% of suicides among male veterans were committed with a firearm between 2001 and 2011.