On March 22, the Washington Post reported on House Republican efforts to repeal the gun ban for military veterans by claiming Congress is making it easier for “mentally incompetent” vets to carry guns.
This is more Fake News about GOP-led efforts to protect the Second Amendment rights and due process rights of military veterans.
According to WaPo, “A bill moving through Congress could make it easier for veterans who can be considered mentally incompetent to carry a firearm.” The fake aspect of this claim can be seen by contrasting it with the WaPo’s accurate summary of what the ban really does:
Under a Department of Veterans Affairs program, the agency appoints a fiduciary if it determines that a veteran — because of injury, disease or advanced age — is unable to manage his or her finances. That means the agency also can classify a veteran as mentally incompetent and submit their names to the FBI for inclusion in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System database, banning them from buying or owning a firearm or ammunition.
This is the gun ban for military veterans; a ban that allows the VA to unilaterally apply a broad mental health label to strip military veterans of their Second Amendment rights without any due process. The bill which the House passed on March 16 — the Veterans 2nd Amendment Protection Act — repeals this ban, not by striving to allow those with severe mental illness “to carry a firearm,” but by instituting a rule that that a veteran cannot be ruled “mentally incompetent” without a judge’s order.
That’s it. The GOP efforts protect the due process rights of military veterans. Yet the WaPo reports that the House is making it “easier” for “mentally incompetent” veterans “to carry a firearm.”
On March 18, Breitbart News reported that NPR took a similar Fake News approach in covering the House vote to the repeal the gun ban for military veterans. NPR claimed the GOP-led House was helping “mentally incapacitated’ veterans get guns.
It is worth noting that the gun ban for military veterans also impacts those who have not sought any treatment for mental duress nor any help with their finances. It does this by creating an atmosphere in which veterans who love to hunt and shoot simply internalize any struggles — be it depression or PTSD — for fear of having their gun rights abolished.
This policy stands to have a tremendously adverse effect on the health and well-being of our veterans: Imagine that you’re a veteran who loves to hunt and shoot. You don’t have trouble managing your finances, but you worry that if someday you do, you could permanently lose your right to defend yourself, your ability to put extra food on the table and one of your most cherished hobbies with the stroke of a pen. Would you seek treatment for PTSD, an eating disorder, depression? Or would you resign yourself to suffering, telling yourself it isn’t worth the risk and “tough it out”?