Why the VA Taking Guns Away From Veterans Is Wrong
We recently explained how the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is going out of its way to bar Veterans from gun ownership. Without the recommendation of a medical doctor, physicalist, or any other licensed medical professional, it continues to report “mental defective” Veterans to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
The system is a great tool to help prevent firearms from falling into the wrong hands. Unfortunately, the department is using a vague bureaucratic regulation to add perfectly healthy Veterans to the system. By the way, it considers Veterans mental defectives even if they simply need help with their benefits.
You read the right. If a Veteran needs assistance or has appointed someone to help fill out medical benefits, they are immediately classified as mental defective. There’s no existing criteria for how Veterans are actually added to the list and no appeals process to prove mental competence. It would be one thing if the VA produced a screening, test, or reason why these Veterans should not be allowed to own a firearm. Several members of Congress have tried and failed to receive clarification from the department.
It’s baffling that the very people who risked their lives to defend the rights of our country are barred from exercising their freedoms by the government. These Veterans aren’t hardened criminals or mentally ill; these are folks who have served in our armed forces and who are healthy adults. Many Veterans use weapons for social reasons: they belong to shooting clubs and hunt recreationally. Should the government take that away because they need help on complicated benefit forms?
The VA and government should not be in the business of picking and choosing which parts of the Constitution it wants to upload. Is this really about safety, or do some in the federal government feel that any Veteran owning a weapon is a threat?
We are aware of the government’s recent track record of neglecting Veterans. The systematic scandals at VA healthcare facilities showed that bureaucracy and greed got the better of people. Quotas and bonuses were more important than caring for the men and women who served our country. The hope is that the department has learned from their mistakes and is moving forward.
But what we saw with long wait times and fake appointments could be a sign of a larger misunderstanding of how the government views the Veteran community. Falsifying appointments is one thing, but what about purposefully prohibiting Constitutional rights? The chief part of this injustice is that this issue has received little attention in the media or elsewhere.
The great thing is we can do something about it. Help Veterans Action Network by contacting your congressman or US senator and tell them that Veterans shouldn’t be denied their Constitutional rights.