Like Countable?

Install the App
TRY NOW

house Bill H.R. 1181

Should a Judge be Responsible for Barring Veterans With Mental Issues From Possessing Guns Instead of the VA?

Argument in favor

Veterans shouldn’t be denied their constitutional right to bear arms simply because they use a fiduciary to handle their affairs a VA bureaucrat has classified them as “mentally defective.” This bill would give them due process through the judicial system and prevent bureaucratic overreach.

Chuck's Opinion
···
03/13/2017
As a Veteran, I can honestly say that either way you look at it, the VA is nothing but a bureaucratic behemoth that can barely keep track of it's own internal paperwork and massive bonuses that no government worker/civil servant should be eligible for. Expecting the administrative part of the VA (the VBA) to not only keep track of individual Veterans and their individual mental health issues, but then to also render an informed, medically necessary, and sound decision as to whether or not a Veteran should be able to keep his/her second amendment rights intact, is ludicrous at best. What people who have never experienced the VA first do not understand is that the Veterans Health Administration is not the entity making the recommendations or the decisions. These are the doctors who have the first hand knowledge of the Veteran. Additionally; the VBA has absolutely no want to serve the best interests of any Veterans. Until these individual sections of the VA have been gutted and reformed in a responsible manner, the VA should have only the ability to make recommendations to a court of law, which is the only Constitutionally acceptable way of removing a citizen's Constitutional Rights.
Like (157)
Follow
Share
Daedalon5's Opinion
···
03/13/2017
The VA has no business in stripping veterans of their right to own firearms. That should be determined by the courts, like it is for everyone else. Unelected bureaucrats do not have the authority to make decisions on an individual's constitutional rights.
Like (124)
Follow
Share
···
03/14/2017
America citizens cannot be stripped of their Constitutional Rights without due process under the law.
Like (90)
Follow
Share

Argument opposed

The Dept. of Veterans Affairs has all the information it needs at its disposal to determine whether a veteran or beneficiary is a danger to themselves or others, and should be responsible for blocking those who are a danger to themselves or others from buying guns.

Anya's Opinion
···
03/13/2017
Keep it like it is. It's for general safety. This bill removes protections for the general unsuspecting public. Not only do veterans who display mental instability need to be refrained from gun purchases, but All persons wanting to purchase guns should have a mental health screen. Removing this requirement will appeal to those who want others to do their dirty work for them, like Killing black people. This is a white supremacist move.
Like (227)
Follow
Share
Sloan's Opinion
···
03/13/2017
I'd vote yes on this if it was a change to the appeal process. Let the VA send the information in to the ban list. If the veteran in question wants to appeal then they should have the option to appeal though the judicial system. This would make sure due process for a constitutional right is allowed for all veterans.
Like (92)
Follow
Share
jjackojr's Opinion
···
03/13/2017
I am confident that the VA has the ability to determine whether someone is mentally stable enough to own a firearm. And if it were to be decided by a judge, the opinion of the VA would, most assuredly, dictate the outcome of the verdict anyway. I would allow for a repeal, by the veteran in question, that would then be taken to the courts for final verdict. Furthermore, I do not like the term "mentally defective". This person, in all likelihood, has given a portion of his/her life to protect the values of this country and I feel that this is somewhat of a disgraceful moniker. In all fairness, even with a Judge's disapproval of firearm possession, a veteran or citizen would have no issue procuring a weapon by other means. So, in conclusion to the wording of the bill itself, I do not feel that a Judge's ruling will affect the potential for a negative outcome or event but a layer of repeal could be added to ensure a chance at due process.
Like (63)
Follow
Share

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house Passed March 16th, 2017
    Roll Call Vote 240 Yea / 175 Nay
      house Committees
      Committee on Veterans' Affairs
    IntroducedFebruary 16th, 2017

Log in or create an account to see how your Reps voted!

What is House Bill H.R. 1181?

This bill would prohibit the Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) from considering a veteran or beneficiary as “mentally defective” and banning them from purchasing a gun without a magistrate or judicial authority ruling that they are a danger to themselves or others. Veterans and beneficiaries are added to the “mentally defective” list if they become mentally incapacitated, are deemed mentally incompetent, or experienced an extended loss of consciousness.

Under current law, if a veteran or beneficiary is labelled as mentally incompetent in the VA’s system and has been appointed a fiduciary to look after their legal affairs, the VA automatically sends the veteran’s name to the National Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Being included in the NICS bars a person from buying or owning a firearm. While they can appeal the firearms prohibition, the VA handles the appeal rather than a judicial authority.

Impact

Veterans and VA beneficiaries declared “mentally defective” by the VA; gun sellers; NICS; magistrate judges; and the VA.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 1181

$0.00
The CBO estimates that enacting this bill would have no significant budgetary effect.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN) introduced this bill to prohibit the VA from classifying a veteran or beneficiary who is assisted by a fiduciary from being classified as “mentally defective” and barred from possessing a firearm. In a press release, Roe explained that:

“The freedoms granted by the Constitution should apply to all Americans — especially the men and women who have been willing to risk their lives to protect those freedoms. This commonsense bill would ensure no veteran or beneficiary is declared ‘mentally defective’ simply because they utilize a fiduciary.”

Democrats on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee agreed that “the current practice of information sharing between the VA and NICS may be over inclusive” but expressed that they have “serious concerns” that the bill will make it “easier, not harder” for veterans in crisis to get a gun.

This legislation has the support of five cosponsors in the House, all of whom are Republicans. No committee votes were taken on this bill.



Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: Andrew* via Flickr / Creative Commons)

AKA

Veterans 2nd Amendment Protection Act

Official Title

To amend title 38, United States Code, to clarify the conditions under which certain persons may be treated as adjudicated mentally incompetent for certain purposes.

    As a Veteran, I can honestly say that either way you look at it, the VA is nothing but a bureaucratic behemoth that can barely keep track of it's own internal paperwork and massive bonuses that no government worker/civil servant should be eligible for. Expecting the administrative part of the VA (the VBA) to not only keep track of individual Veterans and their individual mental health issues, but then to also render an informed, medically necessary, and sound decision as to whether or not a Veteran should be able to keep his/her second amendment rights intact, is ludicrous at best. What people who have never experienced the VA first do not understand is that the Veterans Health Administration is not the entity making the recommendations or the decisions. These are the doctors who have the first hand knowledge of the Veteran. Additionally; the VBA has absolutely no want to serve the best interests of any Veterans. Until these individual sections of the VA have been gutted and reformed in a responsible manner, the VA should have only the ability to make recommendations to a court of law, which is the only Constitutionally acceptable way of removing a citizen's Constitutional Rights.
    Like (157)
    Follow
    Share
    Keep it like it is. It's for general safety. This bill removes protections for the general unsuspecting public. Not only do veterans who display mental instability need to be refrained from gun purchases, but All persons wanting to purchase guns should have a mental health screen. Removing this requirement will appeal to those who want others to do their dirty work for them, like Killing black people. This is a white supremacist move.
    Like (227)
    Follow
    Share
    The VA has no business in stripping veterans of their right to own firearms. That should be determined by the courts, like it is for everyone else. Unelected bureaucrats do not have the authority to make decisions on an individual's constitutional rights.
    Like (124)
    Follow
    Share
    I'd vote yes on this if it was a change to the appeal process. Let the VA send the information in to the ban list. If the veteran in question wants to appeal then they should have the option to appeal though the judicial system. This would make sure due process for a constitutional right is allowed for all veterans.
    Like (92)
    Follow
    Share
    America citizens cannot be stripped of their Constitutional Rights without due process under the law.
    Like (90)
    Follow
    Share
    I am confident that the VA has the ability to determine whether someone is mentally stable enough to own a firearm. And if it were to be decided by a judge, the opinion of the VA would, most assuredly, dictate the outcome of the verdict anyway. I would allow for a repeal, by the veteran in question, that would then be taken to the courts for final verdict. Furthermore, I do not like the term "mentally defective". This person, in all likelihood, has given a portion of his/her life to protect the values of this country and I feel that this is somewhat of a disgraceful moniker. In all fairness, even with a Judge's disapproval of firearm possession, a veteran or citizen would have no issue procuring a weapon by other means. So, in conclusion to the wording of the bill itself, I do not feel that a Judge's ruling will affect the potential for a negative outcome or event but a layer of repeal could be added to ensure a chance at due process.
    Like (63)
    Follow
    Share
    Keep guns out of mentally unhealthy hands...regardless their career, religion, race, gender.
    Like (59)
    Follow
    Share
    This bill is an NRA propaganda piece. Nothing more.
    Like (51)
    Follow
    Share
    As others have said, only a judge should be able to take away constitutional rights. Other institutions should not have that power. Any judge considering mental competency will assuredly be considering any and all medical evaluations made by the VA or other doctors.
    Like (33)
    Follow
    Share
    Medical professionals are qualified to make this call, judges are not. Additionally, doctors possess a greater understanding of the patient as well as their chart work and medical history.
    Like (23)
    Follow
    Share
    H.R. 1181 would require the Federal Bureau of Investigation to eliminate over 174,000 records from the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) that were reported by the Department of Veterans Affairs, allowing easy access to guns for many individuals suffering from serious mental illnesses like dementia, schizophrenia, and long-term severe PTSD. Current Federal Law ALREADY guarantees due process protections for Veterans to ensure no individual incorrectly fails a background check to buy a gun. To make an initial determination that a veteran is mentally incompetent, the VA requires clear and convincing evidence demonstrating the beneficiary’s incompetency. Veterans may present new evidence regarding their incompetency determination at any point. Signed into law in December 2016, the bipartisan 21st Century Cures Act also codified veterans’ due process protections during the adjudication process. Before a final determination, he or she must be provided notice and an opportunity to request a hearing. Should the veteran disagree with the final adjudication, he or she can appeal to a FEDERAL JUDGE. This law is meant to limit the information provided for background checks, period. People who care about our armed forces should know that non-deployed veterans are at a 61% greater risk of suicide compared to the American civilian population, an estimated 6,000 veterans take their own lives each year (20 vets every day) and 67% do it with guns. Not to mention that while Veterans account for 13% of the adult population, more than a third of the adult perpetrators of the 43 worst mass killings since 1984 had been in the United States military. It is clear that, in the etiology of mass killings, military service is an important risk factor. This is NRA lobbying and craven politics putting American lives at unnecessary risk.
    Like (22)
    Follow
    Share
    I think some people are reading this bill wrong. I voted yea because a veteran should be allow due process by a judge in determining if they're able to bear arms or not. Read the first sentence. It would prohibit them.
    Like (20)
    Follow
    Share
    Just a quick analysis. Where in the 2nd Amendment is "mental illness" mentioned. As President Reagan would say "There they go again."
    Like (17)
    Follow
    Share
    I'm a conservative but my grandfather has Alzheimer's and is a veteran, and I would not feel comfortable with people in similar situations to him being able to buy guns.
    Like (15)
    Follow
    Share
    Mental incompetence is the inability of a person to make or carry out important decisions regarding his or her affairs. An individual is defined as mentally incompetent if h/she is manifestly psychotic or otherwise of unsound mind, either consistently or sporadically, by reason of mental defect. Mental incompetence is determined by medical psychiatric professionals and a fiduciary, which is a court-appointed position, would generally not be appointed for them without multiple examinations and opinions that they are not competent. This determination of mental incompetence includes a diagnosis of psychosis of some form which negatively impacts judgement to a significant degree. The impaired judgement in these cases warrants limiting access to firearms. The process as it exists is both fair and necessary.
    Like (14)
    Follow
    Share
    The Constitution clearly states that your rights are not to be deprived without due process. A bureaucrat working at the VA is not due process.
    Like (12)
    Follow
    Share
    Latest action: Reported to House without amendment (03/10/2017) (This measure has not been amended since it was introduced. The summary has been expanded because action occurred on the measure.) Veterans 2nd Amendment Protection Act (Sec. 2) This bill prohibits, in any case arising out of the administration of laws and benefits by the Department of Veterans Affairs, any person who is mentally incapacitated, deemed mentally incompetent, or experiencing an extended loss of consciousness from being considered adjudicated as a mental defective for purposes of the right to receive or transport firearms without the order or finding of a judicial authority of competent jurisdiction that such person is a danger to himself or herself or others. Official ID: H.R. 1181 Veterans 2nd Amendment Protection Act Official Title To amend title 38, United States Code, to clarify the conditions under which certain persons may be treated as adjudicated mentally incompetent for certain purposes. Countable member Deborah said: "The second amendment is outdated and needs to be revised. We don't live in colonial times when there was not a federal defense system. That said, the very least we can do is not allow those who have been designated as unstable, to not have guns. Kind of like how we have laws regulating other potentially harmful things. Guns are no different." SORRY, DEBORAH, BUT WITH ALL DUE RESPECT YOU ARE SHOWING YOUR IGNORANCE HERE! THE 2nd. AMENDMENT WAS NOT INCLUDED JUST TO PROTECT THE COLONISTS FROM FOREIGN ENEMIES! IF YOU'LL RECALL, THE COLONIES HAD DECLARED THEIR INDEPENDENCE FROM ONE TYRANNICAL GOVERNMENT, AND THEY WANTED TO MAKE DARNED SURE THEIR NEW REPUBLIC DID NOT FALL PREY TO A HOMEGROWN TYRANNICAL GOVERNMENT! THESE DAYS, A POPULAR SAYING IS "THE SECOND AMENDMENT PROTECTS THE FIRST!" We conservatives realize that the 2A is VITAL to our personal and national security - to protect us foreign AND DOMESTIC enemies! If you think that's an outdated concept, I feel sorry for you. I agree with Countable member Chuck's opinion: "As a Veteran, I can honestly say that either way you look at it, the VA is nothing but a bureaucratic behemoth that can barely keep track of it's own internal paperwork and massive bonuses that no government worker/civil servant should be eligible for. Expecting the administrative part of the VA (the VBA) to not only keep track of individual Veterans and their individual mental health issues, but then to also render an informed, medically necessary, and sound decision as to whether or not a Veteran should be able to keep his/her second amendment rights intact, is ludicrous at best. What people who have never experienced the VA first do not understand is that the Veterans Health Administration is not the entity making the recommendations or the decisions. These are the doctors who have the firsthand knowledge of the Veteran. Additionally; the VBA has absolutely no want to serve the best interests of any Veterans. Until these individual sections of the VA have been gutted and reformed in a responsible manner, the VA should have only the ability to make recommendations to a court of law, which is the only Constitutionally acceptable way of removing a citizen's Constitutional Rights." Also, as Countable member Bill said: "I think some people are reading this bill wrong. I voted yea because a veteran should be allow due process by a judge in determining if they're able to bear arms or not. Read the first sentence. It would prohibit them." I would only add to what Chuck said that I FIND IT HIGHLY OFFENSIVE TO LABEL PEOPLE AS "MENTALLY DEFECTIVE"! Would you label someone suffering from cancer as "physically defective"? Talk about insensitive! I also find it offensive that some Countable members have stated that there should be no exceptions to the types of mental disorders that can cause someone to be stripped of their Constitutional right to keep and bear arms. Clearly, there is still A LOT of ignorance and stigma surrounding mental illness! And good grief! Many of you liberals still think that depriving people of guns is going to make the world a safer place? Really??!! You must feel that way because gun-free zones have such a great track record of preventing gun violence! NOT!!! Ever hear of the black market??? Ever hear of people stealing guns??? And yes, too many veterans ARE committing suicide everyday! But if a person is DETERMINED to kill himself (or someone else), keeping him from owning a gun ISN'T going to prevent him from finding some other way to end his (or someone else's) life!!! How can I kill me or thee? Let me count the ways.... hanging poisoning using a knife etc., etc., etc. They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. -- Benjamin Franklin It is not unfrequent to hear men declaim loudly upon liberty, who, if we may judge by the whole tenor of their actions, mean nothing else by it but their own liberty, — to oppress without control or the restraint of laws all who are poorer or weaker than themselves. --Samuel Adams Liberty is not a means to a higher political end. It is itself the highest political end. -- Lord Acton
    Like (10)
    Follow
    Share
    What kind of crazy question is this? If a person has been diagnosed mentally incompetent by the appropriate health care system, that should be more than enough to dtop him/her from obtaining a weapon!!! A judge is not necessary!!!
    Like (9)
    Follow
    Share
    I'm confused as to how serving your country would potentially mean having your rights suspended extra-judiciously although you are no longer a member of the armed services
    Like (7)
    Follow
    Share
    If they are going to even consider allowing something like that they need to be very specific about what is a "mental deficiency". If you have an Anxiety disorder or panic attacks it doesn't mean you can't reason and k ow right from wrong but by technical terms you are considered mentally deficient. You always have to consider the "unintended consequences" of anything you do.
    Like (7)
    Follow
    Share
    MORE