A new bill from Republican Rep. Chip Roy of Texas would keep Biden administration bureaucrats at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) from meddling with veterans’ Second Amendment right to buy and own guns.
The legislation, introduced on Friday by Reps. Roy, Eli Crane of Arizona, Lance Gooden of Texas, Andrew Clyde of Georgia, Andy Harris of Maryland, and Mary Miller of Illinois, specifically bars the VA from sending veterans’ names to the Department of Justice to be added to the federal government’s no-gun list.
Currently, the VA forces any veterans who want to appoint a fiduciary to manage their benefits to risk losing their Second Amendment rights. The expressed purpose of the fiduciary program, according to the VA, is “to protect Veterans and beneficiaries who are unable to manage their VA benefits through the appointment and oversight of a fiduciary.”
At no time during the fiduciary evaluation process does the VA determine if a veteran is a danger to himself or others. Yet, any veteran who is deemed “unable to manage” their benefits on their own by the VA is automatically barred from purchasing or owning firearms or ammunition.
Their names are distributed to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), which federal firearm dealers use to determine a person’s eligibility for a gun purchase. There, veterans with fiduciaries are placed in an “adjudicated mental defective” category that indefinitely neuters their Second Amendment rights.
FBI data from 2023 shows that nearly 98 percent of the names placed in the NICS “mental defective” category by federal agencies were handed over to the FBI by the VA.
“You may be fined and/or imprisoned if you knowingly violate this law,” the VA warns.
A memo released by House Veteran Affairs Committee Chairman Mike Bost notes that the decision to name a fiduciary and disarm veterans is often made by “VA general schedule employees, not a court or similar judicial authority.” There is an appeals process for veterans who want “relief of firearms prohibitions imposed by the law” but whether or not that relief is granted is once again determined by the VA.
The committee estimates that “hundreds of thousands of veterans and their family members have been denied their constitutional right to bear arms” based on the judgment of low-level bureaucrats.
“America’s heroes should never have to fear losing their God-given right to self-defense simply for seeking the care they have earned in the process of protecting our republic,” Roy told The Federalist. “Yet, instead of focusing on securing the border or defeating foreign enemies like China, Democrats are set to take aim at our veterans’ Second Amendment rights. I am proud to take a stand for our veterans with this legislation and to fight to prevent the Biden administration from infringing on their fundamental human rights to bear arms in self-defense.”