Can GOP Congressmen stop absurd rule banning veterans from owning guns?

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US_Navy_070501-N-3901L-085_Chief_Gunner^rsquos_Mate_Don_Christenson_of_Naval_Reserve_Navy_Operational_Support_Center_Las_Vegas_fires_his_AR-15_rifle-300x214This story was reported a few months back but nothing has changed. It’s time for us to step up and help our veterans – and now  – some seniors as well. Because it’s not just veterans any more, it’s anybody who gets Social Security.

Thanks to a rule which requires the Department of Veterans Affairs to report veterans who need help managing their finances to the “mental defective” category of the FBI’s background check system, more than 257,000 military veterans face losing their Second Amendment rights — and some congressional Republicans are hoping to stop it:

“The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is effectively a national gun ban list and placement on the list precludes the ownership and possession of firearms,” Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) wrote in a recent letter to VA Secretary Robert McDonald.

The VA is responsible for appointing a fiduciary to help veterans who it determines cannot manage their own finances, but the agency is also taking the additional step of reporting these veterans to the “mental defective” category of the FBI’s background check system, even if they do not pose a danger to society, the senators allege.

The senators called the practice “highly suspect” and said veterans’ ability to manage their own finances is “totally unrelated” to whether they should be prohibited from owning a gun.

“Under the current practice, a VA finding that concludes a veteran requires a fiduciary to administer benefit payments effectively voids his Second Amendment rights,” the senators wrote.

The VA can decide that a veteran is no longer mentally fit to handle benefits and finances and will then appoint what is called a fiduciary, often a family member but sometimes an outside party who manages their affairs, says Stars and Stripes.

The names of veterans who receive that designation are also submitted to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which must be used by gun dealers to run a background check before making a sale. The VA has said that it still reports the information according to the federal requirements in the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act.

The vets must appeal through the VA to regain control of their benefits, which can be a complex and lengthy process. Meanwhile, they may be blocked from buying guns by the database, which is managed by the FBI and falls under Holder’s Department of Justice.

Let’s be honest — many, many people need help managing their finances, and no one deems them “mentally defective” for it. For the VA to write off veterans who require help with financial management as such is what liberals might call “agist,” but I’m just going to call it “ridiculous.” As the letter continues:

“At no time in the process does the VA determine a veteran to be a danger to themself or others, a key determinant for whether someone is a ‘mental defective,’ precluding the right to own firearms.”

If there’s anyone who arguably will never forget how to properly handle a firearm, it’s a veteran.

And now the Administration is expanding the program. While it’s the ATF, a division of the Department of Justice, that is working with the FBI and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to enter veterans who get VA benefits into the government’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System, over at the Social Security Administration, they’re at it as well.

The Obama Administration is trying to get the Social Security Administration to provide information to the FBI on Social Security beneficiaries who can be prohibited from owning a firearm for some form of “incompetence”. Remember, there is no legal definition of incompetence.

Their efforts are directed at the gun rights of millions of Americans who receive social security and disability benefits and who also have a representative payee – someone who handles their finances.

Common reasons SSA beneficiaries request a representative payee include:

  • Individual lives far from banks and grocery stores and may wish to have a family member or friend make bank deposits and grocery purchases for them;
  •  individual may not own a car and needs help with banking and shopping;
  •  individual may simply want help paying bills, or
  •  individual may not be good at balancing their checkbook.

Good reasons to ban gun ownership? How about you call your Congressman and Senators? Find their numbers here.