VA Taking Veterans' Guns

MikeG

Senior Member.
Conspiracy theorists like to use veterans as a way to illustrate citizens suffering from evil, arbitrary government. I suppose they like the stark contrast between people who have made enormous sacrifices for a system that abuses them and their rights.

A recent article appearing in Activist Post tried to make this point with respect to the Veterans Administration’s violation of due process and an outright attack on gun ownership. Apparently, veterans are being declared incompetent and stripped of their right to bear arms.

Some veterans do suffer from physical and mental impairment that affects their competency. No real surprise there.

A little research revealed an elaborate system to determine competency already exists in federal law and VA policy. It is primarily focused on administering benefits and makes clear allowances for due process and appeals. It does ban individuals deemed mentally incompetent from owning firearms. But again, it is a policy that smacks of common sense, not a conspiracy.

The Feds “Assault” On U.S. War Veterans You Won’t Believe

Constitutional Attorney Michael Connelly, JD, who also is the Executive Director of the United States Justice Foundation, has written the article “OUTRAGEOUS: Veterans are now receiving letters prohibiting the purchase, possession, receipt, or transport of a firearm/ammunition…” that every voter and law abiding citizen in the USA ought to read to understand the scope of what’s happened in this country and, seemingly, we don’t give a fiddler’s damn about. How truly sad!
Content from External Source
http://www.activistpost.com/2016/07/feds-assault-u-s-war-veterans-wont-believe.html

Connelly provides a copy of a 2012 letter from the Veterans Administration as evidence. (attached) This passage was particularly important to him:

A determination of incompetency will prohibit you from purchasing, possessing, receiving, or transporting a firearm or ammunition. If you knowingly violate any of these prohibitions, you may be fined, imprisoned, or both pursuant to the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, Pub.L.No. 103-159, as implemented at 18, United States Code 924(a)(2).
Content from External Source
The actual standards for a determination of competency is contained in the Code of Federal Regulations, specifically Title 38, Chapter I, Part 3, Subpart A Section 3.353

(c) Medical opinion. Unless the medical evidence is clear, convincing and leaves no doubt as to the person's incompetency, the rating agency will make no determination of incompetency without a definite expression regarding the question by the responsible medical authorities. Considerations of medical opinions will be in accordance with the principles in paragraph (a) of this section. Determinations relative to incompetency should be based upon all evidence of record and there should be a consistent relationship between the percentage of disability, facts relating to commitment or hospitalization and the holding of incompetency.

(d) Presumption in favor of competency. Where reasonable doubt arises regarding a beneficiary's mental capacity to contract or to manage his or her own affairs, including the disbursement of funds without limitation, such doubt will be resolved in favor of competency (see § 3.102 on reasonable doubt).
Content from External Source
https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/38/3.353

Veterans do have the right to appeal competency decisions. The guidelines are available on the VA website and attached here.

In sum, there are clear policies in place that presume competency. A significant burdens falls on the state. The system still allows administrative appeal.
 

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