In the United States, each state has their own laws governing firearms. According to Wikipedia, “In many cases, state firearms laws can be considerably less restrictive than federal firearms laws. This does not confer any de jure immunity against prosecution for violations of the federal laws. However, state and local police departments are not legally obligated to enforce federal gun law as per the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Printz v. United States.”
State gun laws vary. For example, some states require gun owners to register; others don’t. Some states allow some form of concealed carry in public; others don’t.
Both the states as well as the federal government already restrict the sale or possession of firearms by individuals found (“adjudicated”) to be mentally ill or mentally incompetent. The federal law is 18 U.S.C. § 922(d), which states it is unlawful for any person to sell or otherwise dispose of any firearm or ammunition to any person knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that such person “has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to any mental institution.” (For each state’s law on this, go here.)
Given this, one must ask why the Obama regime’s Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) now has taken upon itself the determination that certain veterans are “mentally incompetent” and therefore prohibits these veterans from buying, selling, owning, or transporting any firearm or ammunition.
Writing in Red Flag on Feb. 20, 2013, Michael Connelly, J.D., a constitutional law attorney and executive director of the United States Justice Foundation (USJF), claims he was contacted by veterans who have received a letter from the VA informing them that they are found to be “mentally incompetent” and are thus forbidden “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).”
The letter provides no specifics on the reasons for the VA’s finding of incompetency; just that it is based on a determination by someone in the VA.
Connelly points out that:
“In every state in the United States no one can be declared incompetent to administer their own affairs without due process of law and that usually requires a judicial hearing with evidence being offered to prove to a judge that the person is indeed incompetent. This is a requirement of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that states that no person shall ‘… be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law…’.
The answer seems to be it is simply because they are veterans. At the USJF we intend to find the truth by filing a Freedom of Information Act request to the Department of Veterans Affairs to force them to disclose the criteria they are using to place veterans on the background check list that keeps them from exercising their Second Amendment rights. Then we will take whatever legal steps are necessary to protect our American warriors.
The reality is that Obama will not get all of the gun control measures he wants through Congress, and they wouldn’t be enough for him anyway. He wants a totally disarmed America so there will be no resistance to his plans to rob us of our nation. That means we have to ask who will be next. If you are receiving a Social Security check will you get one of these letters? Will the government declare that you are incompetent because of your age and therefore banned from firearm ownership. It certainly fits in with the philosophy and plans of the Obama administration. It is also certain that our military veterans don’t deserve this and neither do any other Americans.”
Here are the scanned images of the 3 pages of a letter from the VA received by a veteran, posted on Red Flag. I’ve enlarged the images by 150% but they are still difficult to read. So I’ve transcribed the entire letter, which follows the images below.
Here is my transcription of the VA letter, which is colored green. I’ve highlighted in red the most relevant parts of the letter. Illegible/indecipherable words are represented as (…):
Department of Veterans Affairs
100 SW Main Street
Portland, OR 97204
December 20, 2012
IMPORTANT: Reply Needed
Dear Mr. (name blacked out):
We have received information showing that because of your disabilities you may need help in handling your Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits.
This letter explains the evidence we received, what we must do with this information, the impact on you and your VA payments if we decide that you cannot handle your benefits, and when VA will make a final decision.
What Information Did We Receive?
We received a report from Portland VA Medical Center on December 3, 2012.
This evidence indicates that you are not able to handle your VA benefit payments because of a physical or mental condition.
What Will We Do With This Information?
We propose to rate you incompetent for VA purposes. This means we must decide if you are able to handle your VA benefit payments. We will have our decision on all the evidence we already have including any other evidence you send to us.
Before we make a final determination, you have the right to submit any evidence, information or statement that presents your side of the case within the next 60 days. Our policy is to assist a person with his or her claim in every reasonable way. We want you to have every benefit that you are entitled to under the law.
What Happens If You Are Rated Incompetent?
If VA decides that you are incompetent to handle your benefit payments, VA may appoint a fiduciary (payee) to manage your VA payments. All your VA payments will be made directly to your fiduciary. This person or institution must use your VA payments for your personal care and is responsible to VA for how the payments are used.
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).
If we decide that you are unable to handle your VA funds, you may apply to this regional office for the relief of prohibitions imposed by the Brady Act with regards to the possession, purchase, receipt, or transportation of a firearm. Submit your request to the address at the top of this letter on the enclosed VA Form 21-4138, Statement in Support of Claim. VA will determine whether such relief is warranted.
What Should You Do?
If You Agree: You do not need to do anything if you agree that you need help managing your VA money. We will make our final decision, tell you what we decided, and who will be your fiduciary. However, if you want us to make a final decision without waiting the full 60 days, please tell us to do so in the attached VA Form 21-4138, Statement in Support of Claim. You should specifically state, “I do not have any evidence to submit and I want you to make a final decision without waiting the entire 60-day due process period.”
If You Disagree: You must send us medical evidence (such as a doctor’s statement) that says you are able to handle your own financial affairs in a responsible manner, if you believe you are able to handle your VA benefits without anyone’s help. You should send us this evidence within 60 days from the date at the top of this letter.
Personal Hearing: You may request a personal hearing within 30 days from the date at the top of this letter to present evidence or argument on any important point on your claim. We will arrange a time and place for the hearing. You may bring witnesses who have personal knowledge of the circumstances. We will consider their testimony and keep it as part of our permanent records. We will furnish the hearing room, provide hearing officials, and prepare the transcript of the proceedings. We cannot pay for other expenses of the hearing because we hold a personal hearing only upon a claimant’s request.
Representation: An accredited representative of a veterans’ organization or other service organization recognized by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs will represent you without charge. An agent or attorney may also represent you. An agent or attorney can charge you for service performed on or after the date of a final decision by the Board of Veterans Appeals (…) USC (…)
When Will We Make a Decision?
If we don’t hear from you within the next 60 days, we will assume you have no additional evidence and do not want a hearing. After those 60 days we will make our decision using the evidence we already have and tell you our decision.
Register Now for eBenefits
As a registered (…) user you can assess personalized VA information, apply for benefits online, and check VA claim status. For registration information:
- Call 1-800-827-1000 and select option 7 or;
Contact us at (…) va.gov or;
Visit the VA Regional Office at the address listed at the top of this letter
How Can You Contact Us?
If you are looking for general information about benefits and eligibility, you should visit our web site at http://www.va.gov. Otherwise, you can contact us in several ways. Please give us your VA file number…when you do contact us.
- Call us at 1-800-827-1000 (…)
Send us an inquiry using the Internet at https (…)
Write to us at the address at the top of this letter
We look forward to receiving your claim in a fair and timely manner’
Veterans Service Center Manager
cc: OREGON DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS
H/t FOTM’s friend Miss May.