The Department of Veteran Affairs will no longer be allowed to decide which veterans can own or not own a gun based on mental limitations which include such minor issues as an inability to complete paperwork due to brain damage suffered in war. This is the result of a new bill – the Veterans Second Amendment Protection Act – that just passed the House.
Stars & Stripes reported the vote as 240-175 in favor.
The VA has been putting all veterans with mental illness and/or with mental limitations on a list that prohibits them from owning guns. Due process comes after the fact and is costly, timely and decisions are almost impossible to reverse.
Critics say it will add to the numbers of suicides.
“It’s going to result in more deaths, more suicides of veterans throughout this nation,” retired Navy Capt. Mark Kelly said Thursday on a call with reporters. “It weakens our background-check system and makes our country a less safe place.”
About 20 veterans a day kill themselves, mostly by way of suicides using a gun.
Defenders of the bill say the criteria for classifying veterans as having a mental illness has nothing to do with whether he or she is capable of responsible gun-ownership, and is therefore robbing veterans of their Second Amendment rights without due process.
This bill would require the courts to determine if a veteran poses a threat, not some bureaucrat in an office who can put them on a gun-ban list that goes to the FBI for the most nominal of reasons and based on their subjective opinions.
“What it says [is] if you can’t balance a bank account, you can’t handle a firearm. There is no relation between the two,” said Rep. Ken Buck, R-Fla., who also spoke in favor of the bill. “So many people have been trapped by this overbroad rule.”
It will now go to the Senate and if they pass it, the President has indicated he will sign it.
No one wants to give easy access to guns for veterans in danger of suicide but violating the Second Amendment is not the way. Certainly if they want to get a gun, they can get a gun with or without these bureaucrat’s unconstitutional rules.