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
Court's Commonsense Conclusion: "There Was a Gun" Isn't Enough to Justify Issuing a Restraining Order

Second Amendment  

Friday, May 19, 2017

Court's Commonsense Conclusion: "There Was a Gun" Isn't Enough to Justify Issuing a Restraining Order

The Supreme Court of North Dakota confirmed this week that simply possessing a handgun while on one’s own private property cannot support a finding of "disorderly conduct" under the state’s disorderly conduct restraining order law. ...

Illinois: House Committee Passes Bill to Close Local Gun Dealers

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Illinois: House Committee Passes Bill to Close Local Gun Dealers

The House Judiciary Committee passed Senate Bill 1657 by a 7-6 vote.

Rep. Rob Bishop Introduces the "Lawful Purpose and Self Defense Act"

News  

Friday, May 26, 2017

Rep. Rob Bishop Introduces the "Lawful Purpose and Self Defense Act"

On Wednesday, May 24, 2017, Chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources Rob Bishop (R-UT) introduced H.R. 2620, the "Lawful Purpose and Self Defense Act." This bill would remove ATF's authority to use the ...

Nevada: Governor Sandoval Signs AB 118!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Nevada: Governor Sandoval Signs AB 118!

Today, May 22, Governor Brian Sandoval signed important pro-gun legislation, Assembly Bill 118, into law.  AB 118, sponsored by Assemblyman Skip Daly, will allow members of the military and those who have received an honorable ...

Concealed Carrying Hits New High, Underscores Need for National Law

News  

Friday, May 26, 2017

Concealed Carrying Hits New High, Underscores Need for National Law

Information collected by the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC) indicates an unprecedented surge in the number of concealed carry permits, with the largest one-year increase on record occurring between May 2016 and May 2017.

Abbott Signs Senate Bill 16, Bringing Texas License To Carry Fees Down to Among Lowest in Nation

News  

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Abbott Signs Senate Bill 16, Bringing Texas License To Carry Fees Down to Among Lowest in Nation

The National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) today applauded Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for signing into law NRA-backed legislation that will make license to carry fees in Texas among the lowest in the ...

Legislation Reintroduced to Permanently Dismantle Obama-Era Enforcement Abuse

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, May 26, 2017

Legislation Reintroduced to Permanently Dismantle Obama-Era Enforcement Abuse

This week, Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) reintroduced the Financial Institution Customer Protection Act, a bill aimed at permanently dismantling Operation Choke Point (OCP).  

California: Don’t Miss our May 25th Webinar to Discuss the Newest DOJ Draft “Assault Weapons” Regulations

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

California: Don’t Miss our May 25th Webinar to Discuss the Newest DOJ Draft “Assault Weapons” Regulations

Tomorrow, Thursday, May 25, at 12:00 pm (PT), NRA’s legal team will be hosting a free webinar to discuss the recently submitted “assault weapon” regulations.   

Washington: NRA Files Amicus Brief in Challenge to Kitsap County Anti-Gun Ordinance

Monday, May 22, 2017

Washington: NRA Files Amicus Brief in Challenge to Kitsap County Anti-Gun Ordinance

Last week, attorneys on behalf of the NRA filed an amicus brief in Kitsap County v. Kitsap Rifle and Revolver Club (Kitsap II), the case which challenges Kitsap County’s firearm discharge ban and range licensing scheme.  Kitsap Rifle and ...

Illinois: Anti-Gun Legislators Attempting to Get “Assault Weapon” Language into law

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Illinois: Anti-Gun Legislators Attempting to Get “Assault Weapon” Language into law

This week, Senator Antonio Munoz filed Senate Amendment 2 to Senate Bill 556.

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.