Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

U.S. House Passes NRA-Backed Bill to Protect Second Amendment Rights of America’s Veterans

Friday, March 17, 2017

U.S. House Passes NRA-Backed Bill to Protect Second Amendment Rights of America’s Veterans

On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1181, the Veterans 2nd Amendment Protection Act, sponsored by Phil Roe, M.D. (R-TN), Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs. The bill now moves to the U.S. Senate.

H.R. 1181 in many respects mirrors a recently enacted resolution to repeal an Obama-era Social Security Administration (SSA) rule that sought to deprive certain SSA beneficiaries of their Second Amendment rights.

A federal statute prohibits firearm acquisition or possession by anyone who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective.” The statute, however, does not define the meaning of this term.

Like the SSA, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) interprets the phrase very broadly. It considers any VA beneficiary who is declared “incompetent” to manage his or her benefits and assigned a fiduciary for assistance to be a prohibited “mental defective.”

This is even broader and more arbitrary than the invalidated SSA rule. That rule at least excluded beneficiaries who were minors or of retirement age and applied only where the underlying condition that qualified the person for Disability benefits or Supplemental Security Income was itself a mental condition.

The VA’s practice, however, has no such limitations. It applies to all beneficiaries receiving benefits for any reason who are assigned a fiduciary. The VA’s position is that an admission or finding that a fiduciary is needed is tantamount to an “adjudication” that a person “lacks the mental capacity” to “manage his own affairs.”  

But in most cases, these decisions are summary bureaucratic actions. They very rarely involve a hearing, much less lawyers or judges. So calling them an “adjudication” is inaccurate.

It’s also false to claim that needing help with finances is the sort of “mental defectiveness” Congress intended would prevent a person from being eligible to exercise his or her Second Amendment rights.

Mental health experts warn that there is no connection between financial acumen and a person’s ability safely and responsibly to handle a firearm. That point was made again and again in the context of the debate on the SSA bill.

Thus, the same arguments against the SSA rule apply just as strongly, if not more so, against the VA’s regime.

In other words, the VA’s regime is unconstitutional; inconsistent with the underlying statute; unsupported by science or empirical evidence establishing any link between financial acumen and the ability to safely and responsibly handle firearms; and harmfully stigmatizing. It also serves as a deterrent for vulnerable people who need help and benefits from seeking them.

In addition to all that, it presents the bitter irony of being targeted directly at the very people who bore the cost for the freedoms that all Americans enjoy.

The Veterans 2nd Amendment Protection Act would correct these deficiencies by ensuring that no beneficiary could be reported to NICS as a prohibited “mental defective” unless a judicial authority (such as a judge or magistrate) first determined the person to be a danger to self or others.

That leaves options in the case of a person experiencing an acute episode of dangerous mental illness, while also ensuring that veterans are not arbitrarily denied their rights without due process of law.

Meanwhile, the media is whipping up the usual frenzy about Congress “giving guns” to the “mentally ill.”

Even the self-styed legal experts from The View got in on the act, going so far as to encourage their viewers to contact their congressional representatives to object. Their comments on the bill and its effects, unsurprisingly, were rife with misunderstanding and misinformation.

Due process, as well as Second Amendment rights, are fundamental liberties that all Americans enjoy. They are exactly the sorts of rights for which America’s veterans have sacrificed so much. The fact that the VA would infringe them in this manner is a national disgrace and one that is long past due for correction.

The NRA thanks Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), and Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), as well as Chairman Roe, for their leadership in this critical effort.

The U.S. Senate should swiftly follow their lead and send the Veterans 2nd Amendment Protection Act to President Trump’s desk.

TRENDING NOW
Pittsburgh Mayor Declares Intent to Ban Guns in Violation of State Law

News  

Friday, December 14, 2018

Pittsburgh Mayor Declares Intent to Ban Guns in Violation of State Law

Yesterday, we reported that it was likely that sweeping gun control measures would be proposed in Pittsburgh. Today, Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto held a press conference to propose a trio of anti-gun city ordinances that, if enacted, would constitute ...

Stealing Rights and Property in Steel City? Pittsburgh Reportedly Considering Sweeping Gun Control

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Stealing Rights and Property in Steel City? Pittsburgh Reportedly Considering Sweeping Gun Control

The NRA has received copies of what are reported to be draft ordinances being considered by the Pittsburgh City Council to enact sweeping gun control measures within the city.

“This Hollow Display of Security” – Canada’s Liberal Government Presses for Even More Gun Control

News  

Friday, December 14, 2018

“This Hollow Display of Security” – Canada’s Liberal Government Presses for Even More Gun Control

Speaking in Montreal this month on the anniversary of the 1989 Ecole Polytechnique tragedy, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed his government’s plans to further restrict legal access to handguns and “assault weapons” and refused to rule ...

News Flash: Michael Bloomberg Not a Fan of the First Amendment, Either

News  

Friday, December 14, 2018

News Flash: Michael Bloomberg Not a Fan of the First Amendment, Either

Michael Bloomberg, former NYC mayor and billionaire patron of the Nanny State, may be gearing up for the presidential race in 2020. He gave the idea of running as an independent candidate “serious consideration” in ...

California Department of Justice Releases First Set of Proposed Ammunition Sales Regulations

Friday, December 14, 2018

California Department of Justice Releases First Set of Proposed Ammunition Sales Regulations

Today, the California Department of Justice released the first in a series of regulatory proposals regarding the mandatory background check process when purchasing ammunition, which is scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2019.

Misleading Headlines and the Murder Rate

News  

Friday, December 14, 2018

Misleading Headlines and the Murder Rate

We hear a lot about “fake news.” We regularly see data miscoded and statistics misused. What we have seen several times over the last several months does not really fit any of those categories.

New Jersey: Third Circuit Court Refuses to Stop Unconstitutional Magazine Ban

Thursday, December 6, 2018

New Jersey: Third Circuit Court Refuses to Stop Unconstitutional Magazine Ban

Yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit allowed an unconstitutional magazine ban to proceed with its December 10th deadline by a 2-1 decision.

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 ...

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

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 ...

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.