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Old November 9, 2009, 07:37 AM   #1
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Veterans 2nd Amendment Protection Act

The Brady Campaign is using the Fort Hood incident to muster support for their opposition to a new bill (The “Veterans 2nd Amendment Protection Act”) which would make it easier for veterans deemed by the VA to be
1) “mentally incapacitated,” 2) “mentally incompetent,” or 3) “experiencing an extended loss of consciousness” to retain possession of their firearms.

`In any case arising out of the administration by the Secretary of laws and benefits under this title, a person who is mentally incapacitated, deemed mentally incompetent, or experiencing an extended loss of consciousness shall not be considered adjudicated as a mental defective under subsection (d)(4) or (g)(4) of section 922 of title 18 without the order or finding of a judge, magistrate, or other judicial authority of competent jurisdiction that such person is a danger to himself or herself or others.'.

The BC argument is that

Current federal law and VA procedures ensure that only seriously mentally ill persons are barred from gun possession:
• Significant Medical Evidence Required – Evidence must be “clear, convincing and leave[] no doubt as to the person’s incompetency” or based on specific medical findings and show that the person “lacks the mental capacity to contract or to manage his or her own affairs.”
• High Burden of Proof – “Where reasonable doubt arises … such doubt will be resolved in favor of competency.”
• Due Process Protected – A person declared incompetent must receive notice and an opportunity for a hearing.
• Gun Possession Allowed if Competency Restored – Any person who regains competency may again possess firearms.

Though I am no fan of the Brady Bunch, the bill seems to me to undermine the VA, to increase bureaucracy, to complicate the law, and to put a burden on the courts. All of which may be completely justified if the end result is a genuine improvement in civil rights. Of that, however, I am unconvinced.

I am guessing that this bill was prompted by a real-world situation in which someone actually should have had their right to keep arms restored, but didn't. But that's just a guess. I'm sure some of you know much more about this than I. So, explain to me exactly why the Bradys have got this one wrong.
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Old November 9, 2009, 09:43 AM   #2
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I am a vet and have been diagnosed by the VA with PTSD, but luckily I was not a risk to myself or others as my shrink put it down on my records.

anyway, we (vets with issues like PTSD ) need to get as much protection for our 2A rights as possible. Lot of push to keep vets with PTSD or other issues away from their guns . this issue really got attention (in a bad way) when that whack job shot up Virginia Tech (he was not legally supposded to be able to own a gun anyway).

now this shooting at Hood puts more negative light on the topic. and the shooter had never even been deployed and was shooting up the place (targeting coworkers) because he was going to be deployed and he had gotten bad evals the last few times. so he was just 'going postal' as a real bad disgruntled employee.
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Old November 9, 2009, 10:08 AM   #3
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What is the evidence that the current system is not giving enough protection to vets' 2A rights?
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Old November 9, 2009, 02:01 PM   #4
Bartholomew Roberts
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In 2000, the VA had placed some 83,000-89,000 veterans who were deemed incapable of handling their own affairs; but not "a danger to themselves or others" on the NICS list.

This was one of the issues addressed by the somewhat controversial NICS Improvement Act. It looks like this bill takes this a step further than the NICS Improvement Act by saying that not only must they be found to be "a danger to themselves or others" in an adversarial hearing with due process; but that the hearing must be by a competent judicial authority (i.e. not just a VA medical review board or similar type of hearing).

I may be missing something as I just glanced at it; but that is the major difference that jumps out at me. In practical terms though, it strikes me as a fairly minor difference since even the VA medicial review boards would have to meet the standards established for due process before they could deprive a veteran of any rights. It seems the primary purpose of this bill would be to end the debate over whether they met due process standards by making it clear what type of authority is required.
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Old November 9, 2009, 02:19 PM   #5
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The Brady Campaign is using the Fort Hood incident
Isn't it nice of them to use case where the person did not actually have PTSD to push more legislation based on PTSD? Of course he may have had PTSD, but to believe that you would have to believe that you can become an alcoholic by listening to drunks talks all day.
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Last edited by MTT TL; November 9, 2009 at 04:26 PM.
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