Sen Richard Burr (R-NC) has always been concerned about the proper treatment of veterans during his time in Congress. He is currently the Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.
One of his major beefs with the Department of Veterans Affairs is that they report any veteran who has an appointed financial fiduciary to manage their financial affairs to the FBI’s NICS system as being ineligible to own a firearm. These are not, mind you, individuals who have been adjudicated mentally deficient, incompentent or a danger to themselves or others but rather veterans who need help managing their finances. Currently, 114,000 veterans have been reported by the VA to NICS because of how Veterans Affairs has interpreted the law.
In July, Burr introduced S. 1707 – the Veterans Second Amendment Protection Act – to remedy this. The bill currently has 18 co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle including such gun control backers as Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT). A companion bill, HR 1898, was introduced in the House by Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT). This bill was merged into HR 2349 which passed the House of Representatives and was sent to the Senate on October 11th.
These bills say that a veteran will not be considered adjudicated mentally defective unless a finding or order has been rendered by a judge, magistrate, or other competent judicial authority saying the individual is a danger to himself or to others.
To put the 114,000 veterans who have lost their Second Amendment rights into perspective, currently there are 7.6 million people receiving Social Security benefits who have an assigned fiduciary. None of these 7.6 million people with assigned financial fiduciaries has been reported to NICS nor have they lost their Second Amendment rights.
Cam Edwards interviewed Sen. Burr about this problem and his bill on Tuesday. While the Senate has not been able to pass a budget for over 900 days, let’s hope this is one bill they can get their act together on and pass.