Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

Your Help Urgently Needed to Protect the Second Amendment Rights of America’s Veterans!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Your Help Urgently Needed to Protect the Second Amendment Rights of America’s Veterans!

America’s veterans helped protect us. Now we can ensure they themselves are not arbitrarily denied the right of self-protection.

On Wednesday, the House Committee on Veterans Affairs marked up and favorably reported H.R. 1181, the Veterans 2nd Amendment Protection Act, sponsored by Committee Chairman Phil Roe, M.D. (R-TN). The bill now moves to the full U.S. House, where a vote could come as early as next week.

H.R. 1181 is meant to deal with a longstanding and shameful practice by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), which administers disability benefits for veterans and their families. Under this practice, anyone who the VA declares “incompetent” to manage his or her own benefits and assigns a fiduciary is automatically reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) as a prohibited “mental defective.” The person is then subject to a lifetime ban on the acquisition and possession of firearms, unless he or she successfully petitions for “relief from disabilities.”

As of Dec. 31, 2016, the NICS contained 167,815 active records submitted by the VA under this program.

The VA’s program suffers from a number of legal and practical issues.   

Above all, it does not attempt to identify which beneficiaries have mental illnesses that actually cause them to be a danger to themselves or others. Rather, it merely targets individuals who have been identified as needing help to manage their benefits. Yet there is no scientific or empirical evidence to support the idea that needing help managing money is the same thing as being too dangerous or irresponsible to safely handle a firearm.

Second, the statute on which the reporting is based prohibits firearm acquisition or possession by persons who have been “adjudicated” as a “mental defective.” While these terms are not defined in the statute, the purely bureaucratic process by which a fiduciary is assigned – which in most cases does not involve a hearing, much less a judge – is hardly the sort of procedure most would consider an “adjudication.” And the only issue at stake is whether the person needs help with his or her finances. It does not affect rights other than under the Second Amendment, including the right to form legally binding contracts, vote, hold office, serve on a jury, etc.

While the VA does theoretically make “relief” available after the fact, few of the beneficiaries affected by the program have the means to negotiate the highly bureaucratic process, which may also require expensive mental health evaluations and legal aid. The procedure also turns due process on its head by forcing the petitioner to prove by a high standard of evidence that he or she is not a risk to public safety, a premise the government was never required to establish in the original “adjudication.” 

The VA’s own records showed that as of April 2015, only 3% of relief petitions had been granted. And the decision makers considering the petitions are the same sorts of VA bureaucrats who made the original fiduciary determination, not an independent judge or magistrate.

H.R. 1181 would change all this by ensuring that the VA could only report a beneficiary to NICS as prohibited “mental defective” if a judicial authority had already made a finding that the person is a danger to self or others. This would ensure due process, as well protect those who simply need help managing their finances but are not at increased risk of committing a dangerous act with a firearm.

President Trump signed a measure into law last month that prevented the Social Security Administration from going through with a plan to implement a similar reporting system for certain of its Disability or Supplementary Security Income beneficiaries assigned “representative payees.”

And the House had passed a bill to halt VA’s program in 2011, which eventually died in the Senate.

Action to stop this unconscionable infringement of veterans’ Second Amendment Rights is long overdue.  

Please contact your congressional representative NOW and respectfully ask him or her to vote YES on H.R. 1181, the Veterans 2nd Amendment Protection Act. You can call the Congressional Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected to your representative’s office, or you can send an email using our Take Action tool.

America’s veterans answered the call to serve for the good of all. Now is your chance to ensure their rights are protected. Don’t delay. Please call or write your representative today.

TRENDING NOW
More Proof That Being a “Celebrity” Does Not Make You Smart

News  

Thursday, December 6, 2018

More Proof That Being a “Celebrity” Does Not Make You Smart

In a November 30 tweet, Tom Arnold, famous for being married to Roseanne Barr and making a few really bad movies, has proven that he knows nothing about guns, gun owners or firearm misuse.

Washington: Anti-Gun Group Announces 2019 Agenda

Friday, December 7, 2018

Washington: Anti-Gun Group Announces 2019 Agenda

On December 5th, the Alliance for Gun Responsibility, a group backed by out-of-state elites, announced it will pursue its most extreme anti-gun legislative agenda to date during the upcoming 2019 Washington Legislative Session.

Guns and Taxes

News  

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Guns and Taxes

David Hogg wants a federal tax on firearms and ammunition. He has repeatedly broached the idea, including multiple times on Twitter, and only sometimes suggests a use for the tax revenue. Hogg’s tweets on a ...

Checks and Balances? Massachusetts Executive Branch Flouts Court Orders on Firearms Licenses

News  

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Checks and Balances? Massachusetts Executive Branch Flouts Court Orders on Firearms Licenses

The U.S.’s republican form of governance is predicated on co-equal branches of government that check and balance each other in order to preserve individual liberty. The system does not work when one branch simply ignores ...

Levi’s Teams with Billionaire Michael Bloomberg to Attack Gun Rights

News  

Friday, September 7, 2018

Levi’s Teams with Billionaire Michael Bloomberg to Attack Gun Rights

Levi Strauss & Co. established its brand in the mid-19th century by selling durable clothing to working-class Americans. As Levi’s signature jeans gained popularity amongst a wider set in the middle of the last century, ...

Surprise: Study Finds No Rise in Violent Crime Attributable to Adopting Right-to-Carry Laws

News  

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Surprise: Study Finds No Rise in Violent Crime Attributable to Adopting Right-to-Carry Laws

As we’ve noted recently, much research purporting to demonstrate connections between access to guns or right-to-carry laws and increases in crime is seriously flawed.  Often it's an attempt to curtail or eliminate Americans’ rights under the Second ...

Warning to New Mexico Gun Owners: Expect Unprecedented Attacks On Your Second Amendment Rights During The 2019 Legislative Session

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Warning to New Mexico Gun Owners: Expect Unprecedented Attacks On Your Second Amendment Rights During The 2019 Legislative Session

While the New Mexico Legislature will not convene for its 60-day Regular Session until January 15, lawmakers can start prefiling bills on December 17. 

House Democrats Outline Gun Control Agenda for 116th Congress

News  

Friday, November 16, 2018

House Democrats Outline Gun Control Agenda for 116th Congress

With anti-gun Democrats back in control of the House of Representatives come January, now is the time to prepare for a new onslaught on the Second Amendment. Emboldened by the mere thought of controlling the ...

Engineering Professor Shares Thoughts on Constitutional Law, Calls for Handgun Ban

News  

Friday, November 30, 2018

Engineering Professor Shares Thoughts on Constitutional Law, Calls for Handgun Ban

In a recent piece for the Bangor Daily News ironically titled, “Why banning handguns makes sense,” Associate University of Maine Electrical Engineering Professor George Elliott struggled to argue why the tools of self-defense have no ...

Anti-Gun Researchers Undermine the Anti-Gun Narrative

News  

Friday, November 30, 2018

Anti-Gun Researchers Undermine the Anti-Gun Narrative

We have good news from a joint effort between the Violence Prevention Research Program at the UC Davis School of Medicine and the Center for Gun Policy and Research at the Johns Hopkins University.  

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

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.