Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

Rumor Alert: Veterans’ Health and “Sporting Purposes”

Friday, January 6, 2012

Among the thousands of questions NRA-ILA answers every month by email, phone and letter are scores that begin “This guy told me he heard …” Unfortunately, all too often this is the telltale sign of one of the rampant rumors that circulate around campfires or gun store counters, and especially on the Internet.  Three of the most recent top rumors involve veterans’ gun rights, the status of the “sporting purposes” test for firearms importation, and new restrictions on gun shows.

The first of these stems from a widely circulated email, allegedly from a “Vietnam vet and retired police officer,” claiming he visited a Department of Veterans Affairs clinic and was asked several mental health questions.  The message goes on to claim that the nurse told him a “wrong” answer would be “reported … to Homeland Security” and result in the loss of his Right-to-Carry permit.

Fortunately for veterans, that warning was incorrect.  It’s true that mental health questions are now standard procedure during the patient intake process at VA facilities.  That's a result of heightened concern about post-traumatic stress disorder and similar legitimate issues affecting veterans.

However, the Department of Homeland Security isn't the agency that compiles records of people who are prohibited from possessing firearms.  The FBI does that, in order to operate the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.  And although some VA records are reported to NICS, a record will only be reported if the person has been "adjudicated as a mental defective"—in other words, that the person is mentally incompetent.

At the VA, a person can only be found incompetent after a lengthy process that includes the opportunity for a hearing and appeal.  Just telling a nurse you feel "stressed" (as the email claims) wouldn’t be enough.  And the NICS Improvement Amendment Act of 2007 not only makes clear that any "adjudication" without those procedures won't result in the loss of gun rights, but also provides a way for those who have been found incompetent to get the finding reversed.

The second rumor involves a provision in the recently signed fiscal year 2012 Justice Department appropriations bill, which prohibits the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives from banning the importation of shotguns that are currently legally imported.  (See ILA Report, Feb. 2012.) The provision was prompted by a BATFE “study” that sought to reinterpret the “sporting purposes” test in a manner that would have banned the import of popular hunting, self-defense and target shotguns.

 Unfortunately, some have wrongly concluded that this provision repeals the “sporting purposes” test for importation of all firearms. While the NRA does support a repeal of that unconstitutional standard, the recent bill doesn’t go nearly that far.  The new provision only prevents, at least in the short term, new shotgun bans under the “sporting purpose” language.  Heading off the current ban is cause for celebration, but by no means is the NRA’s work on this issue finished.

Finally, an email has recently circulated claiming that law enforcement officials at a Colorado gun show have told vendors that as of Jan. 1, 2012, only federal firearms licensees would be able to sell guns at shows, and that private citizens would only be able to buy or sell two firearms per year.

This message may be based on a misunderstanding of Colorado law—which does require background checks on firearm transfers at gun shows, but doesn’t prohibit all private sales—or it may just be yet another rumor.  After all, since 1986, the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act has made clear that under federal law, a private individual can “make occasional sales, exchanges, or purchases of firearms for the enhancement of a personal collection or for a hobby” without needing an FFL.  NRA-ILA is investigating this issue, and will report any further information of interest in a future issue.

TRENDING NOW
Wisconsin: Important Right to Carry Bill Introduced

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Wisconsin: Important Right to Carry Bill Introduced

Today, LRB 2039/1 was introduced to the Wisconsin State Legislature.  This Right to Carry bill would allow for the concealed carry of a firearm without a concealed carry license anywhere in the state where an ...

California: One Gun a Month Bill Pulled from Senate Public Safety Hearing

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

California: One Gun a Month Bill Pulled from Senate Public Safety Hearing

Today, Tuesday, March 28, anti-gun SB 497, was scheduled to be heard in the Senate Public Safety Committee.  At the last minute, the bill was pulled from today's agenda. Thank you to all who contacted the ...

Texas: Senate Passes SB 16, LTC Fee Reduction Bill, by Overwhelming Vote

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Texas: Senate Passes SB 16, LTC Fee Reduction Bill, by Overwhelming Vote

On Monday, the Texas Senate voted to pass Senate Bill 16, NRA-backed legislation sponsored by State Sen. Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) and Joan Huffman (R-Houston), on a 26-5 vote.

Seattle Gun Tax Fails to Generate Projected Revenue, Succeeds in Burdening Rights

News  

Gun Laws  

Friday, March 24, 2017

Seattle Gun Tax Fails to Generate Projected Revenue, Succeeds in Burdening Rights

On March 16, 2017, the Seattle Times reported that Seattle city officials were reluctant to release data on the revenue generated by the city’s firearms and ammunition tax, citing taxpayer confidentiality concerns. Less than a ...

Virginia Action Needed: Governor McAuliffe Vetoes Self-Defense Bills

Monday, March 27, 2017

Virginia Action Needed: Governor McAuliffe Vetoes Self-Defense Bills

Following their passage in the Virginia General Assembly, Governor Terry McAuliffe vetoed multiple self-defense bills; Senate Bill 1299, Senate Bill 1300, House Bill 1852, and House Bill 1853. 

News  

Monday, March 27, 2017

NRA Applauds Texas State Senate for Passing SB 16

The National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action applauds the Texas Senate today for passing Senate Bill 16, legislation that substantially reduces License To Carry fees in the Lone Star state.

Georgia: Senate Passes Pro-Gun Bills – Governor Needs to Hear From You!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Georgia: Senate Passes Pro-Gun Bills – Governor Needs to Hear From You!

Today, the Georgia Senate passed pro-gun bills; House Bill 406, House Bill 292, and House Bill 280. 

The Washington Post Gives Gun Control Group and U.S. Senator Three Pinocchios on Suppressors

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, March 24, 2017

The Washington Post Gives Gun Control Group and U.S. Senator Three Pinocchios on Suppressors

Last week, we wrote about Americans for Responsible Solutions’ irresponsible misinformation about The Hearing Protection Act on Twitter.  Apparently, we weren’t the only ones who took notice of ARS’s complete disregard for the facts on ...

Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee Embraces Heller and Originalism During Senate Hearings

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, March 24, 2017

Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee Embraces Heller and Originalism During Senate Hearings

Judge Neil M. Gorsuch, President Trump’s pick to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme court, asserted during his confirmation hearings this week that Scalia’s landmark Second Amendment opinion in District of ...

California: Anti-Gun Bill Limiting Firearm Purchases to be Heard in Senate Public Safety on Tuesday, March 28

Friday, March 24, 2017

California: Anti-Gun Bill Limiting Firearm Purchases to be Heard in Senate Public Safety on Tuesday, March 28

On Tuesday, March 28, anti-gun SB 497, is scheduled to be heard in the Senate Public Safety Committee.  SB 497 would expand the existing one handgun a month law to include ALL guns.  

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.