As we previously reported, on September 9th the U.S. House Veterans Affairs Committee passed an amendment by U.S. Representative Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) as a part of a larger piece of veterans' legislation. The Veterans Second Amendment Protection Act, which was added to H.R.2349 as an amendment, will provide individuals receiving veterans' benefits with added protection against loss of the right to possess firearms due to mental health decisions.
Currently, when a person has a fiduciary appointed to handle his or her veterans' benefits, the federal government considers that person to have been "adjudicated as a mental defective" and therefore prohibited from possessing firearms.
The injustice of this process has long been criticized both by NRA and by veterans' groups. The current system disarms veterans and others receiving benefits based on a totally administrative process and without requiring any finding that the person poses a danger to himself or herself or to anyone else.
The NRA-backed bill (also supported by major veterans' groups such as the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars) would provide that for purposes of the firearm prohibition, a person subject to a mental health decision by the VA would not be considered "adjudicated as a mental defective" without a court finding that the person is dangerous.
Today, the House considered H.R. 2349 and, we are happy to report, passed the measure by a voice vote.
The bill now moves to Senate Veteran Affairs committee for further consideration.
Please watch for our reports on future developments.