House Approves Bill to Prevent Taking Gun Rights Away From Veterans

It's hard to believe a law was needed to prevent this in the first place.

Handgun lying on American flag

The Veteran’s Second Amendment Protection Act, or House Bill 1181, was introduced February 16, 2017. Here’s the language of this bill: “This bill prohibits, in any case arising out of the administration of laws and benefits by the Department of Veterans Affairs, any person who is mentally incapacitated, deemed mentally incompetent, or experiencing an extended loss of consciousness from being considered adjudicated as a mental defective for purposes of the right to receive or transport firearms without the order or finding of a judicial authority of competent jurisdiction that such person is a danger to himself or herself or others.”

What does that all mean? The bill says that the Veteran’s Administration could previously declare a veteran as “mentally incompetent” if they had someone acting to manage their finances on their behalf. This label of “mentally incompetent” would mean they could lose their rights to possess a gun. The bill passed the House on March 16, 2017, by 240 to 175 and is now in the Senate.

The bill was in response to the VA’s current practice of automatically reporting veterans names to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check system if they meet certain criteria, without a hearing. Once on this list they wold not be eligible for gun rights. As of December 31, 2016, the VA has reported 167,824 individuals to NICS.

At issue is the VA’s stance that veterans who need help with their finances are a danger to society or to themselves. This bill is a step in the right direction. Let’s hope our politicians start focusing on protecting society from people who truly ARE a danger, not just because they forget to pay their bills on time.