As we previously reported, on September 9, 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 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.
This week, the House considered H.R. 2349, and, we are happy to report, passed the measure by a voice vote.
Also this week, U.S. Senators Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Jim Webb (D-Va.), along with 10 other cosponsors, introduced S. 1707—the U.S. Senate companion bill to H.R. 2349.
Please be sure to contact your U.S. Senators and ask them to cosponsor and support NRA-backed S. 1707. You can find contact information for your elected officials by using the "Write Your Representatives" tool at www.NRAILA.org, or you can call your U.S. senators at (202) 224-3121. To see if your senators are cosponsors of S. 1707, please click here.
Please watch for our reports on future developments.