On the Hill: Senate Narrowly Rejects Pro-Gun Amendment, While House Committee Approves Protection for Veterans

Posted on May 10, 2013

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On May 8, the U.S. Senate took up consideration of S. 601, the "Water Resources Development Act of 2013."  During the debate, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) offered an amendment to extend the Right to Carry to lands administered by the Army Corps of Engineers.

The Corps manages over 11.7 million acres, including many recreational areas. In 2009, Congress passed legislation protecting the Right to Carry in national parks and wildlife refuges, but lands under Corps of Engineers management are not covered by that law.

With strong bipartisan support for the amendment, the final vote was 56-43. However, under the rules for consideration of the bill, 60 votes were required for passage.

On the same day, the House Veterans Affairs Committee voted to approve a provision to require a judge or magistrate to declare that a person who receives veterans' benefits is a danger to himself or to others, before the person can be prohibited from possessing or acquiring firearms.

Currently, the Department of Veterans Affairs adds beneficiaries' names to the federal instant background check database when they are merely unable to manage their finances. Supporters of the provision argued that the need for help with managing money does not make a person dangerous. The chairman of the committee, pro-Second Amendment Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.), said of the current situation: "It's arbitrary. It's inconsistent and it's unreasonable."

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