Veterans' Gun Rights in Jeopardy Unless Congress Acts

AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews, File

In theory, the Department of Veterans Affairs, generally just called the VA, exists to help us veterans after our time in uniform. However, as it's a bureaucracy, it's not as much help as a lot of people would like to believe.


We sometimes joke that the VA is about giving us a second chance to die for our country.

Yet the VA serves an important role. A lot of people leave military service broken in various ways. That includes mentally, with things like PTSD being far more commonly diagnosed these days than after previous wars.

And that leads us to talking about veterans' gun rights.

Congress needs to act now to protect these rights because what protections there are won't be there for much longer.

Veterans’ gun rights have long been in the crosshairs of anti-Second Amendment politicians.

For example, in February 2016, during the Obama administration, Breitbart News reported numerous combat veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan who might need treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder were increasingly hesitant to pursue it because they feared a diagnosis of PTSD would be used to deny their gun rights under the Obama administration.

A combat vet confined to a wheelchair spoke to Breitbart News anonymously at the time, saying, “I was diagnosed with PTSD. What’s being done to be sure my guns aren’t taken away?” He said he lived with the added anxiety of questioning his every trip to the doctor, fearing that he was one visit away from having his gun rights snuffed out.

This also became a serious concern for veterans who needed help balancing their checkbooks and managing their finances due to the mental strain caused by combat. Veterans feared that they faced a stark choice of having a fiduciary or having gun rights.

It should be noted that, according to the VA, a fiduciary can be appointed because someone "cannot manage their benefits." One can also be appointed because they cannot manage their financial affairs in general.


However, that doesn't necessarily mean they aren't capable of acting responsibly with regard to their Second Amendment rights.

Being bad with money doesn't suggest that you're going to shoot people for no reason, commit violent crimes, or be particularly inclined toward self-harm. It just means you suck with money.

It's not an adjudication by a court, either, which means the VA has no business submitting names to NICS. They're not "mentally defective" or anything of the sort necessarily.

Now, let's be clear here. Some of these veterans probably should be declared as such. Some are so broken they shouldn't be allowed out of the house without adult supervision. War does that to some people, after all.

But those people should be determined to be such by the courts, not by bureaucrats at the VA.

As a result of this, some people are concerned about getting help from the VA, help they need and are entitled to that help. They're just scared that if they try to get it, they'll lose a fundamental, constitutionally protected right.

That should never happen.

Congress needs to step up and make sure it doesn't.

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