06.20.08

Burr Introduces “Veterans Second Amendment Protection Act”

Legislation would end arbitrary process that strips veterans of their rights

U.S. Senator Richard Burr (R-North Carolina) today introduced legislation that would end an arbitrary process through which the government strips veterans of their Second Amendment rights. Under current practice, veterans who have a fiduciary appointed to act on their behalf are deemed "mentally defective" and reported to the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The Veterans Second Amendment Protection Act would require a judicial body to determine that a veteran, surviving spouse, or child is a danger to themselves or others before they are listed in the FBI's NICS, which would prevent the purchasing of certain firearms in the United States.

"I am very concerned that government employees can so easily take away a veteran's right to bear arms," Burr said. "Under current VA policy, veterans who cannot manage their own financial affairs are labeled as mentally defective and cannot purchase a handgun. My legislation would protect the rights of veterans and their families by ensuring that a judge will determine who is referred to NICS."

The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act (P.L. 103-159) prohibits certain individuals from purchasing a firearm, including those who have been deemed a "mental defective." Over 116,000 people who receive VA benefits have been reported to NICS, stripping them of their constitutional rights, simply because the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) appointed a fiduciary to act on their behalf. A fiduciary handles disability compensation, pension, survivors' compensation, and other VA payments on behalf of a veteran, surviving spouse, or child. The VA appoints a fiduciary when they believe a veteran cannot handle their own financial affairs. The process does not determine whether they are a danger to themselves or others.

"No matter where my colleagues fall on the gun issue, I hope we can all agree that we need a process that is consistent and fair for our veterans. Our veterans took an oath to uphold the Constitution and they deserve to enjoy the rights they fought so hard to protect," Burr added.