I’m a little biased when it comes to veterans. After all, I served myself, so I have one big thing in common with veterans. Since 9/11, though, I don’t feel worthy of the title all that much since I served during peacetime, but I’m still technically a vet. As such, though, I’m touchy when it comes to veterans’ issues.
I’m also touchy when it comes to gun rights. Obviously.
When the two collide, though, I can get really riled up. Luckily, House Republicans are working to fix a real problem.
wo bills protecting the Second Amendment rights of veterans need to be debated by the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, according to Republican members of the committee, who sent a letter last week to the panel’s chairman, Rep. Mark Takano, D-Calif.
The bills aim to stop some veterans from being included on lists used during background checks that could interfere with their ability to purchase or own a gun.
“These bills address serious issues affecting our nation’s veterans — issues that are about as non-controversial as it gets,” said Rep. Phil Roe of Tennessee, the ranking Republican on the House VA committee.
H.R. 3826, or the “Veterans 2nd Amendment Protection Act,” would prohibit the Department of Veterans Affairs from sending information on veterans, or beneficiaries, who are assisted by a fiduciary to FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, without a judicial ruling that they are a danger to themselves or others. A fiduciary is appointed by the VA for veterans who, due to injury, disease or age, are unable to manage their own financial affairs. Medical documentation or a court order is required for a fiduciary to be appointed.
This bill is a reintroduction of similar legislation that passed the House last session but did not become law.
The bill is in response to H.R. 1112, or “The Enhanced Background Check Act,” which passed the House in February and amends law so that an individual “adjudicated with mental illness, severe developmental disability, or severe emotional instability” cannot possess a firearm.
Based on concerns that H.R. 1112 could increase the number of veterans that the VA is required to report to the NICS and cause millions of disabled veterans who have received a disability rating for a mental illness to lose their ability to own a firearm, H.R. 3450 would clarify a veteran’s information should not be automatically sent to the NICS because of a disability rating for mental illness.
“Our support for these bills stems from concerns that veterans might not seek VA care or benefits because they fear they will lose their Second Amendment rights,” committee Republicans wrote in their letter to Takano. “We feel strongly that a VA adjudication of service-connected disability compensation or a determination to appoint a fiduciary for a veteran is not sufficient cause to report that individual to NICS.”
It’s a fair concern.
However, those same concerns were apparently brought up prior to H.R. 1112 being passed and were dismissed. That’s hardly surprising. Gun control advocates who claim they just want to keep guns out of the wrong hands are notorious for believing everyone’s hands are the wrong hands. They have no interest in backing anything that might minimize those who might be impacted by a gun-control effort, even if there’s no evidence they may represent a risk to themselves or others.
As such, while I applaud the supporters of the bill, I don’t expect it to go anywhere.
On the plus side, don’t expect H.R. 1112 to actually go anywhere either. While it passed the House, it’s languishing in the Senate. It’s unlikely that it’ll come up for a vote at all, but if it does, it’s even more unlikely that it would pass. Thankfully.
Yet if Democrats don’t back H.R. 3826, they forever forfeit their right to say that they’re not trying to disarm everyone with their gun control schemes. Nothing in this particular bill would arm those deemed a risk. It only protects those who need a little bit more help after serving our nation. If they can’t get behind this, then we know where they truly stand.