As we have reported several times in the past (including here and here), the Veterans Administration (VA) has been reporting to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) the identities of its beneficiaries who have been assigned a “fiduciary” to manage their benefits. The VA claims that such determinations constitute an “adjudication of mental defectiveness” under federal law, thereby prohibiting the beneficiary (presumptively for life) from acquiring or possessing firearms.
The NRA has for several years been supporting legislation to correct this unjustified infringement on Second Amendment rights, including the Veterans 2nd Amendment Protection Act (H.R. 2001, Rep. Jeff Miller, R-FL) and the Mental Health and Safe Communities Act of 2015 (S. 2002, Sen. John Cornyn, R-TX).
Recently, this issue has taken on even broader importance with the planned implementation of a similar program concerning Social Security Administration (SSA) beneficiaries who have been assigned a “representative payee.” We reported on SSA’s plans last summer, and then the White House itself announced the program would be part of President Obama’s latest “executive actions” on gun control.
Now, in our continuing efforts to oppose these gun-grabbing schemes, we are asking you to share your stories. We are interested in hearing from VA beneficiaries who have been deprived of their Second Amendment rights after assignment of a fiduciary, especially if you are willing to allow your experience to be made public. Our hope is that by putting a human face on VA’s practices, we’ll be able to shine more light on this scandal and hopefully promote meaningful reform.
In particular, we’d like to know:
1. Who made the determination that a fiduciary was necessary?
2. Did this determination involve a formal hearing?
3. Were you told the effect the determination would have on your Second Amendment rights?
4. Were you apprised of your right to an appeal or to petition for restoration of rights?
5. What factors influenced your decision whether or not to pursue an appeal or restoration?
6. Were you successfully able to get your rights back?
If you are able to share documentation of your experience (letters, rulings, etc.) that would also be very helpful.
Please contact us using our webform here or call us at (800) 392-8683 and provide:
- Your name and contact information;
- Brief answers to the above six questions;
- Digital copies of relevant documents, if possible; and
- Whether you consent to NRA contacting you for follow-up and using your information in our public efforts to right this wrong.
The NRA is committed to ensuring that the Second Amendment rights of all VA and SSA beneficiaries are respected. Your help will promote this effort.