HOUSE PASSES BILL ENABLING GUN SALES TO VETERANS DEEMED 'MENTALLY INCOMPETENT'
House OKs Bill To Stop VA From Blocking Right To Own Guns For Vets
The House voted 240-175 for the Veterans Second Amendment Protection Act to go to the Senate. The White House has signaled that President Donald Trump will sign the legislation if it passes the Senate.
The bill would end the current practice under which the Department of Veterans Affairs rules that veterans who cannot manage their financial affairs are automatically entered into National Instant Criminal Background Check System as unable to own a gun.
The bill would require a judge to assess the veteran to determine if he or she is truly a threat to anyone before the veteran is added to the database.
The bill’s supporters said there is no connection between fiscal acuity and gun ownership.
“What it says (is) if you can’t balance a bank account, you can’t handle a firearm. There is no relation between the two,” said Rep. Ken Buck, R-Fla. “So many people have been trapped by this over broad rule.”
Others said the law abridged Second Amendment rights. “I strongly believe we must do everything in our power to protect the rights guaranteed to all Americans, especially the men and women who have served, by the Constitution,” said the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn.
The bill is backed by the National Rifle Association. “No veteran should have their fundamental right to self defense arbitrarily revoked by a government bureaucrat,” said NRA Executive Director Chris Cox.
“Receiving assistance to handle personal finances does not mean an individual is unable to safely own a firearm. Our brave men and women in the military should not be stripped of their constitutional rights without due process of law,” he added.
Critics of the law said it would increase suicides among veterans. “It’s going to result in more deaths, more suicides of veterans throughout this nation,” said retired Navy Capt. Mark Kelly, husband of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz. “It weakens our background-check system and makes our country a less safe place.”
The VA had given the database 167,815 names as of Dec. 31.