There’s a joke about the VA: It gives veterans a second chance to die for their country.
We’re not big fans of how the VA does a lot of things. One of the things we’ve seen, though, is particularly alarming. That’s the idea of the VA having the authority to take action against their patients with regard to their gun rights.
Sure, I get the desire to do something for someone who is suicidal or whatnot, but this wasn’t limited to just that. It included people who simply needed some help with their finances or who were physically disabled.
Now, though, a deal has reportedly been reached that will put an end to that threat.
Sens. John Kennedy and Chuck Schumer have worked out a deal on a bill to protect veterans’ gun rights, according to the Hill.
At issue was an amendment proposed by Kennedy, R-La., that would allow military veterans, who have to enter a conservatorship, the ability to keep their firearms.
“I just left Chuck’s office. I think we got it worked out,” Kennedy told The Hill. “We’re going to hotline some new language. Frankly, I think it makes my amendment stronger. Now, not everyone’s going to be happy.”
Kennedy’s amendment was proposed as part of the Senate’s “minibus” appropriations bill that would fund the departments of Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, Veterans Affairs and Agriculture.
“The original position was they wanted me to pull my amendment down and I said ‘no,’” he said.
If this does go through, it promises to protect the gun rights of veterans throughout the nation.
The thing about a conservatorship is that it’s not always because someone is mentally incompetent. If they are, then they can be adjudicated as such and their gun rights can be revoked that way, but it’s not the VA’s place to determine if a veteran is incompetent or not.
Many people enter conservatorship because of various reasons, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re unable to responsibly exercise their gun rights.
Either way, veterans aren’t going to be interested in utilizing VA services if their gun rights are going to be in danger. It’s one of the issues with red flag laws with regard to therapists. If people think their rights are at risk, they simply won’t get the help they need.
Kennedy’s bill seeks to fix that, to keep the VA from screwing over veterans like that.
What we need to be careful about now is that the deal actually goes through. I know what Sen. Kennedy said, but this is Schumer we’re talking about here. He’s not exactly gun-friendly, now is he? Could there have been a miscommunication there? Maybe. Or maybe Schumer just wants to get this bill through and if it has to swallow something that protects gun rights for veterans, then so be it.
Either way, we need to wait and see how this actually plays out, but I’m hopeful that this will become law. Our veterans deserve it and so much more.