This week, a congressman from the Sunshine State led a push to have the Trump administration protect the Second Amendment rights of veterans.
U.S. Rep. Greg Steube, R-Fla., a veteran of the Army and currently a member of the U.S. House Veterans Affairs Committee, helped lead a letter signed by more than 20 Republicans to President Donald Trump calling on him to make sure the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) does not infringe on Second Amendment rights.
“Currently, veterans who have been assigned a fiduciary are determined by the VA to be financially incompetent and are treated as persons prohibited from purchasing, possessing, receiving, or transporting a firearm. This rule wrongfully assumes that those who need assistance managing their VA benefits are unfit to own a firearm,” Steube’s office noted.
“Those who fight to protect the freedoms we hold sacred should not be wrongfully deprived of their Second Amendment rights,” Steube said on Friday. “Unfortunately, bureaucratic red tape is standing in the way of this foundational right for many our nation’s veterans, but we can fix this problem with a simple rule change.”
U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., who also serves on the Veterans Affairs Committee, also signed the letter which was sent on Wednesday.
“Thank you for your actions to ensure that our veterans have the best mental health care in the world. Our nation’s heroes deserve the best care our nation has to offer, and we wholeheartedly support your laudable efforts to protect and empower veterans. However, any efforts that seek to protect veterans must respect the right to keep and bear arms. As such, we encourage you to take executive action to stop the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) from disarming vulnerable veterans,” the congressmen wrote. “Today, veterans who have been assigned a fiduciary are determined by the VA to be financially incompetent and are treated as persons prohibited from purchasing, possessing, receiving, or transporting a firearm or ammunition pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(4). These veterans are then reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System alongside convicted felons and illegal aliens.
“The VA’s fiduciary rule has led to many veterans being wrongly deprived of their constitutional rights. Receiving help to manage your VA benefits is not the same as being ‘adjudicated as a mental defective’ or as being ‘committed to a mental institution.’ Veterans should not have to worry about being disarmed when they seek assistance with benefits or healthcare from the VA.” they added. “While this disarmament of our nation’s veterans began with the Clinton administration, we recognize that this radical anti-gun agenda will not end with the disarmament of only our nation’s veterans. Previously, Americans watched as the Obama administration tried to disarm Social Security beneficiaries in a similar manner. Thankfully, your administration worked with Congress to prevent the unconstitutional final rule from taking effect.
“Mr. President, there is room for executive action to reconcile the VA’s interpretive guidance with the VA’s limited statutory authority. In fact, Gun Owners of America and the Independence Fund recently filed a rulemaking petition asking VA Secretary Robert Wilke to do just that,” they wrote in conclusion. “We urge you to take this long-overdue action to respect the right of veterans to keep and bear arms.”
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.