27 thoughts on “Veterans Receive Letters From VA Prohibiting Ownership or Purchase of Firearms”

  1. It’s not if you voluntarily check it. Only if you are involuntarily committed does it automatically fail a background check.

  2. 3 weeks ago. Granted, he was 66, not 75, but the point is the same. It seems like everyone around the guy knew he was coo coo for cocoa puffs and armed, but it took him killing a bus driver and kidnapping a kid before officials did anything.

  3. The question is whether VA is doing this for political purposes or if these folks meet rational criteria for being denied firearms. I’m not sure whether the fact that you “voluntarily” checked yourself in is a disqualifier. Cho, the VA Tech murderer, voluntarily checked himself in for treatment and, because of Virginia’s PC laws on that sort of thing, it didn’t show up on his background check. Gun rights groups are pushing for something like this. The question is what criteria are used and how can one remove this? The fact that someone needs treatment because of deployments shouldn’t be more than a temporary bar to firearms ownership without a full (honest) mental evaluation. If you are taking the life-long check for that disability, then perhaps you should forgo the firearm.

  4. Add me to the list of those appreciating GoneWithTheWind’s excellent post. It takes courage to assert what he did.

  5. But who gets to decide the mental capacity. Most major mental illness sufferers should not have access to guns, but what about the grey area? Some warmist types regard climate denial as a mental illness.Does that then mean that those with the common sense to realise AGW is a load of propagandist crap are to be denied the right to bear arms? The American forefathers had the foresight to realize that at some point, the people may need to take arms against a GOVERNMENT that became too big for its boots.Obama wants to use the NAZI strategy-never let those you have vanquished have the means to fight, for they will overthrow you.
    Any legislation to limit gun ownership must only apply to those who pose a genuine risk to society.
    Under NO circumstances should you allow Obama to remove the right to bear arms. We had this in Australia-the result-illegal guns are now rampant in the hands of criminals. Firearms related crime is now on the increase.
    When carrying guns is outlawed, only outlaws carry guns. If you let Obama strip gun ownership from regular folk, there WILL be a surge in violent gun crime. Only a fool would believe that criminals would hand in their guns. The criminals’ lives will be much easier, their victims will not be able to defend themselves.
    Remember your complacency if you ever get another election in 3 years. Being too lazy to go to the polls and vote allowed Obama back in. A shame on all those who could not be bothered to get rid of him. It is more than likely going to be to the detriment of all Americans. Cherish your right to vote and use it.I will bet you that by this time next year, you will be ruing the day you were too lazy to go up and vote and let Obama get another term to wreak havoc without regard to being re-elected. Your American system with 2 term maximum means you really have to certain that the President is competent before you entrust them with a second term.
    Here in Australia, we rue the day we elected our Prime Minister. We have wanted to get rid of her from early on when it became apparent that she gained power on shadowy deals and a HUGE blatant LIE. Australia is on the verge of total economic disaster from her.

  6. The way I see it, some bureaucrats thought of a nice, smooth process for disarming veterans with mental issues — and someone in the Vets Admin was kind enough to warn vets of what these rules could do to them.

    Civilians don’t get that sort of kindness, that I’m aware of. We’re probably all familiar with all the paperwork that goes with medical care. Some day, will there be another piece of paper? One that says, “I realize that my rights to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment will be restricted if I am diagnosed as having a mental illness.”?

    Many of the recent mass shooters were on antidepressants, so it would be easy to make a case for denying keep & bear for depressed persons. That would affect about ten percent of the US population, or 14 percent of the white population, or 23 percent of women ages 40 to 59. http://bit.ly/umcKxB

    Wed be weaving a tangled web here, which is what bureaucracies thrive on. Imagine writing up and administering all the mental health gun rules–a statist’s dream. Sticking with “shall not be infringed” and erring on the side of freedom is probably the better option.

  7. I agree. When family members or authorities can identify a genuinely dangerous individual, someone should certainly step in. And maybe — I don’t say so — the gun genie was better in the bottle but it’s long out.
    The great cause of crime is willingness to harm people rather than access to guns.

  8. To be succinct, I don’t believe that any program to reduce crime by reducing access to firearms can work. We have three hundred million guns spread over more than a hundred million people. Any adult who wants a gun can get one.

    It is merely indirection. And programs to limit access invariably just harass the public. In extremis, the cities with the most severe restrictions actually have the most crime.

    Ubiquitous self defense, and a justice system more interested in stopping crime than in correcting the inequities of childhood will stop crime. Since the latter isn’t on the horizon, think self defense.

  9. Eh, so was I. USAF medic, 1976-1996. Even in Korea, enlisted didn’t have weapons in the barracks. Later, under Gen. McPeak, PACAF officers had surplus revolvers issued and kept them in their rooms. Dunno what happened after that.

  10. Howdy Gamecock
    During a 20-year career, I owned a firearm for maybe six or eight years. For one thing, the military prohibits firearms in enlisted barracks and isn’t really gun-friendly in base housing.
    After I retired, it was 12 years before I bought some guns. Veterans run the gamut from gun nuts to gun phobes, Birchers to Marxists.
    I assume this paragraph is in the VA letter as part of a legal process to be sure the individual is aware of signficant consequences relating to being termed incompetent.

  11. And your markers are as good as any I know. Even the best we have will result in false positives and false negatives.

  12. I’m underwhelmed. The vets probably already own guns. And they aren’t going to get rid of them just because they get a letter from the VA.

  13. Here’s the threshold: when
    A: you have to put them in protective custody for the safety of themselves and others.
    B: Their paranoia causes them to commit a felony.
    C: If they have a restraining order put on them (good as a temporary hold until A can be done).
    Legally, all of these already are checked in a background check. Note, this is only if you are involuntarily commited to a mental health facility. If voluntary admissions were counted, it would be a strong deterrent against seeking necessary medical help.

  14. Demented elderly people have killed their family members, especially spouses, with firearms and with other weapons as well. I don’t know of a case where such an unfortunate has done so in a public area and targeted strangers — one of the rarest crimes in the records by any age of offender.

  15. Howdy sk72 and ben
    Here’s the dilemma, of course. There really are people, veterans and others, who represent a potential danger to themselves and others if they get access to firearms but who aren’t criminals in the usual sense. It’s hard to identify them or predict their behavior even if they are in treatment. Certainly I don’t advocate a mental health eval as part of a permitting process for guns, concealed or otherwise. There should be room to identify an active paranoid-schizophrenic with delusions who should not be able to purchase a firearm; family members should keep dangerous items away from those who may be harmful. But where’s the line? Who decides? When does safety overcome individual rights? How high does the threshhold need to be to protect my rights and your family?

  16. What problem is this supposed to fix? When was the last time a demented, 75-year old vet shot up a place?

    “Any adult in America who is not locked up can get a gun.” – Gamecock

  17. The more I think about this, the less objectionable it seems. If you are legally declared too incompetent to manage your finances, they you have no purpose owning a gun. That is IF the determination is made in court with the defense given full representation. As I made note of in my first post, this does not appear to be the case, because the default result is a declaration of incompetence with no reference givent to a court appearance.

  18. Thank you for giving a summary explanation about why a psychological evaluation for gun ownership is a stupid idea.

  19. Isn’t this one of the points of effective gun control. Keep guns out of the hands of those who might be mentally unstable. I have dealt with the VA as a caretaker for my late father, who became demented and depressed after my mom passed. They are pretty thorough are a good overseer for former servicemen, some of who have significant problems. Dad spent 10 days in the mental hospital before being transferred to a VA senior home. On visiting him, he remarked that returning vets in the hospital were in bad shape, meaning they had serious mental problems. In all good conscious, do we want these fellows and gals to posses firearms?

  20. Howdy GWTW
    “Everyone knew if you went to a psychiatrist or told a doctor you have “these feelings” that you would lose your clearance…”
    Lost an assignment that way myself (though not retrained, specialty wasn’t that kind). Thing is, people who are mentally or socially fragile really are targets of espionage ops, vis Bradley Manning and thousands of others over the years.

  21. It’s kind of a catch 22. If you accept what is written here then you only understand half of it. Today there are tens of thousands of veterans who are choosing to seek some form of VA benefits. They aren’t wounded or sick so they choose to use a mental illness kind of claim most often related to PTSD. I’m not saying everyone seeking a VA check is lying but clearly a lot of them are. But in the process they expose their soft underbelly and in their eagerness to get that check they admit to being suicidal, violent, full of anger, etc. They have, in other words, made themselves unfit to own a gun. Probably if they had known that by copping to being “crazy” that some would indeed think they are “crazy” and must be treated that way then they may not have thought the VA check was worth it. But that is the catch 22.

    I spent 20 years in the militray with a top secret clearance. Everyone knew if you went to a psychiatrist or told a doctor you have “these feelings” that you would lose your clearance and be reassigned as a cook. But who knew that simply trying to squeeze the VA for some money for the rest of your life by claiming to have “these feelings” would have negative results?

    So my question is what should the authorities do when someone tells their doctor they are crazy or have a desire to commit suicide or kill others etc.? Should they say; OK, here’s a lifetime disability check and a handgun go play???

  22. It is longstanding practice — I think mid-1980s — that a person who has been judicially declared mentally incompetent is not permitted to have firearms. If a veteran is drawing a pension and the VA has reason to believe the veteran is vulnerable to being exploited — these things happen — the VA may have reason to go to court to seek a competency ruling and perhaps a guardian for the veteran. I’m sure there’s a difference between finding someone in need of guardianship and finding someone incompetent but I imagine the areas overlap a good deal. I think this letter means much less than the first glance might say.
    As a matter of routine prudence, an Alzheimer’s patient with significant dementia should not have access to firearms. The same is true of people who are depressed.

  23. The phrasing is “after a determination of incompetency”. This is in a letter proposing that the recipient is incompetent. It isn’t entirely out of place, as many veterans are gun owners or even enthusiasts. However, while I don’t know the law enough to say for certain, the “determination of financial incompetence” does not seem to prohibit firearm purchase. If there are any legal people reading this, commentary would be appreciated.

    Of more concern is the “do nothing and we will declare you incompetent” clause and a request that you prove your competence. That clearly puts the shoe on the wrong foot. In fact, that’s seems such a flagrant breech of procedure that I have to question whether this is even real.

    To avoid unnecessary click-throughs, here’s the acutal letter.

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