Congressman Jim Bridenstine Supports Gun Rights for Veterans
Washington, DC, April 23, 2013 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
I am co-sponsoring a bill to make it easier for veterans to exercise their 2nd Amendment right to keep and bear arms. I’m concerned that some First District veterans are being denied their rights without due process.
Since 1999, over 116,000 people in America who receive Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits have been stripped of their constitutional rights simply because VA appointed a fiduciary to act on their behalf. VA's review process for assigning a fiduciary is meant to determine one's ability to manage VA-provided cash assistance. The process does not determine whether they are a danger to themselves or others.
Under current practice, veterans who have a fiduciary appointed to act on their behalf are deemed “mentally defective” and are reported to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), a system which prevents individuals from purchasing firearms in the United States. The Veterans’ Second Amendment Protection Act HR 577 would require a judicial authority to determine that a VA beneficiary poses a danger to themselves or others before VA may send their names to be listed in the FBI’s NICS.
I fully support keeping firearms out of the hands of seriously unstable, dangerous people. This bill would ensure that a judge or appropriate judicial authority, instead of a minor bureaucrat, gets to determine if a person should be denied gun rights.
Some 1st District veterans have expressed concerns about being labeled mentally defective – and ineligible to own guns – because they suffer war-related stress. As a Naval reservist and combat veteran, I know that war leaves mental scars. It’s unacceptable to deny a veteran rights that he or she has served in the military to protect.
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