06.26.08

Burr’s “Veterans Second Amendment Protection Act” Approved By Senate Panel

Committee also includes pilot program for Burr’s dental coverage bill

The U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs today approved Senator Burr's Veterans Second Amendment Protection Act (S.3167), which would end an arbitrary process through which the government strips veterans of their Second Amendment rights. The measure was offered as an amendment to the Veterans' Medical Personnel Recruitment and Retention Act of 2008 (S.2969). Burr's amendment was approved by voice vote and the committee unanimously approved the underlying legislation, which can now move to the Senate floor for consideration.

"I am very pleased the committee endorsed this legislation protecting our veterans' second amendment rights," Burr said. "My bill would ensure America's brave men and women enjoy the rights they fought so hard to protect. This legislation was included in a larger piece of legislation that will improve the care provided to our veterans. I hope the Senate can quickly consider this bill and I urge my colleagues to support it."

Currently, when the Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA) appoints a fiduciary to assist a veteran with managing their financial affairs, VA also deems the veteran mentally incompetent and reports him or her to the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The Veterans Second Amendment Protection Act would require a judicial body to deem a veteran, surviving spouse, or child as a danger to himself or others before being listed in NICS, which would prohibit the veteran from being able to purchase certain firearms. The legislation is supported by the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, AMVETS, and the Military Order of the Purple Heart.

The legislation also included a pilot program for Burr's dental health insurance bill (S.3178). The bill directs the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to establish a dental program for all veterans who rely on VA for their health care in two regions. Veterans would pay a premium for the service, which would use the VA's buying power to offer affordable dental insurance coverage. Burr's legislation is modeled after the TRICARE Retiree Dental Program (TRDP), in which military retirees are given the option to purchase dental coverage under a private contract managed by the Department of Defense. The bill would not replace any dental services already provided by VA.