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
Louisiana: House Passes Constitutional Carry, Now Headed to Gov. Landry’s Desk for His Signature

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Louisiana: House Passes Constitutional Carry, Now Headed to Gov. Landry’s Desk for His Signature

Today, the House voted 75-28 to pass Senate Bill 1, the NRA-backed constitutional carry legislation that passed the Senate last week.

Louisiana: Constitutional Carry Advances to the House Floor – Final Vote Imminent

Monday, February 26, 2024

Louisiana: Constitutional Carry Advances to the House Floor – Final Vote Imminent

Today, the House Administration of Criminal Justice Committee passed the NRA-backed constitutional carry legislation, Senate Bill 1, by a 10-3 vote. The bill now heads to the House floor for a final vote this week. SB 1 ...

Maine: PETITION: Stand with Maine Gun Retailers

Monday, February 26, 2024

Maine: PETITION: Stand with Maine Gun Retailers

Gun Control groups are launching an all-out assault on the Second Amendment in Maine. Their most recent tactic?

Louisiana: Senate Passes Constitutional Carry - Take Action Now!

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Louisiana: Senate Passes Constitutional Carry - Take Action Now!

Today, the Senate passed Senate Bill 1, NRA backed constitutional carry legislation, on a 28-10 vote. The bill will next be considered in the House. Please contact your state representative and ask them to SUPPORT Senate Bill 1.

Minnesota: "Assault Weapons" Ban Referred to the Committee on Public Safety Finance and Policy

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Minnesota: "Assault Weapons" Ban Referred to the Committee on Public Safety Finance and Policy

On Monday, House File 3570 was referred to the House Committee on Public Safety Finance and Policy and would ban so called “assault weapons” by expanding upon an existing statute used to define these firearms. The bill ...

Louisiana: House Committee to Hear Constitutional Carry Monday - Take Action Now!

Friday, February 23, 2024

Louisiana: House Committee to Hear Constitutional Carry Monday - Take Action Now!

Monday, February 26, at 10:00 AM, the House Administration of Criminal Justice Committee will hear Senate Bill 1, the NRA-backed constitutional carry legislation. SB 1 was passed by the Senate earlier this week with overwhelming support. Please contact committee members ...

Maine: Gun Registries, Red Flags, Universal Background Checks and more.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Maine: Gun Registries, Red Flags, Universal Background Checks and more.

It has been a busy week for Maine’s anti-gun politicians. From releasing a new bill that would implement Universal Background Checks and Red Flag laws in Maine, to Rep. Jared Golden (ME-02) pushing for a ...

Washington: Two Anti-Gun Bills Advance Through the Legislature

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Washington: Two Anti-Gun Bills Advance Through the Legislature

On Tuesday, February 27th, HB 2118, the “FFL Killer” passed the Senate, and SB 5444, "sensitive places" expansion, passed the House. Both bills were amended in the second chamber and now must return to their ...

South Carolina: Permitless Carry Passes the Senate, Waiting on Concurrence by the House

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

South Carolina: Permitless Carry Passes the Senate, Waiting on Concurrence by the House

Last week, South Carolina moved one step closer to becoming the 28th state to enact Permitless/Constitutional Carry! This effort has been years in the making, clearing a major hurdle by passing the Senate, which has been ...

South Dakota: Enhanced Conceal Carry Bill Passed in Committee

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

South Dakota: Enhanced Conceal Carry Bill Passed in Committee

Yesterday, Senate Bill 203 was passed in the House Judiciary Committee with a vote of 11-1 and will be heard on the House floor today, February 27th. The bill allows gun owners with enhanced concealed ...

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.