According to Michael Connelly at Red Flag News, the Department of Veterans Affairs is arbitrarily depriving veterans of their right to own guns:

How would you feel if you received a letter from the U.S. Government informing you that because of a physical or mental condition that the government says you have it is proposing to rule that you are incompetent to handle your own financial affairs? Suppose that letter also stated that the government is going to appoint a stranger to handle your affairs for you at your expense? That would certainly be scary enough but it gets worse.

What if that letter also stated: “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).”?

That makes is sound like something right from a documentary on a tyrannical dictatorship somewhere in the world. Yet, as I write this I have a copy of such a letter right in front of me. It is being sent by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to hundreds, perhaps thousands, of America’s heroes. In my capacity as Executive Director of the United States Justice Foundation (USJF) I have been contacted by some of these veterans and the stories I am getting are appalling.

Many Second Amendment supporters are understandably alarmed:

VETERANS OF AMERICA: The Communists in DC Are Taking Your Gun Ownership Rights Away.…Thank you for your service.

— FloridaJayhawk (@FloridaJayhawk) February 22, 2013

Obama to veterans: thanks for your service, but if you try to buy a gun, I’ll fine you and throw you in jail.…

— Razor (@hale_razor) February 22, 2013

Exposed: Obama’s Ployto Disarm Veterans! #Obamas DeputizedDoctors to Label Veterans Mentally Unfit to Own a Gun!

— Southern With Sass (@LilSouthernSass) February 21, 2013

#VeteransAffairs to hundreds of #veterans: You are prohibited from purchasing / owning #firearms:… #NRA #gunrights #VA

— Tavern Barkeep (@TavernBarkeep) February 22, 2013


— Dennis (@Dennis_Hostetlr) February 22, 2013

Is #Obama trying to deny 2nd Amendment rights – starting with veterans… …or not?

— Mike Murray (@emmeffemm) February 22, 2013

VETERANS receive letters from VA PROHIBITING OWNERSHIP or PURCHASE of FIREARMS!!! #GUN #TeaParty @nra @tedcruz…

— Jim Chookagian (@nf3l) February 22, 2013

But the alarm over the VA letter seems to be unwarranted. In a post entitled, “Don’t beleive the hype on the VA letter summarily denying vets gun rights,” conservative blogger Bob Owens (who supports Second Amendment rights) debunks the rumors:

I have no idea who Michael Connelly is, but I can tell you this: his story is misleading at best, and purposeful fear-mongering at worst.

Connelly lays this out in such a way that the average person reading this gets the impression that the VA is arbitrarily sending letters to unsuspecting veterans that they’ve lost their 2nd Amendment rights because someone in far away Washington summarily checked a box on a whim. It is portrayed as a bolt from the blue, affecting a large percentage of veterans.

This [provision doesn’t apply] to someone just because they went into combat, or if they have some level of PTSD, or if they have a head injury. This generally applies to folks that are seriously mentally compromised.

Milblogger John Lilyea has a similar take:

The letter, despite the breathless reporting by this lawyer dude at the [Red Flag News] blog, explains to the veteran to whom the letter is addressed how to avoid being ruled incompetent.

By the way, I looked up the cite from 18 USC 942(a)(2) which merely refers to 18 USC 922(a)(6) which, in turn says you can’t lie when you buy a gun – so all of that legal crap doesn’t say anything we don’t know and it has nothing to do with being a mentally incapacitated veteran.

But, basically, what the letter doesn’t say is that the VA is disarming veterans arbitrarily. Don’t let this letter be the reason you don’t go to the VA to get the treatment you need and earned.

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