March 08, 2021
By Mark Chesnut
While we typically tend to report mostly on negative firearms-related legislation at the federal level, occasionally pro-gun lawmakers propose Second Amendment-friendly measures that also deserve public attention.
Such is the case with a new measure designed to keep those who have served their country from having their constitutional rights dashed without due process. The Veteran’s Second Amendment Protection Act, which was introduced by Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, and Rep. Mike Bost, R-Illinois, would set guidelines on when the Veterans Administration could take away a veteran’s right to buy or own a firearm.
“No one, especially those who risked their lives defending our nation, should have their constitutional rights infringed,” Rep. Cheney said in a prepared statement upon the measure’s introduction. “The legislation that Ranking Member Bost and I introduced today will ensure that the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding veterans are not hindered by government red tape, and will prevent unelected bureaucrats from denying veterans their ability to purchase or own a firearm. Both Rep. Bost and I will fight hard to advance this legislation and bring attention to this important issue.”
According to a background sheet from Cheney and Bost, under the VA’s interpretation of current law, if the Department of Veterans Affairs appoints a fiduciary to help a veteran (or beneficiary) manage their VA benefits, then the VA is required to send their name to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). As a result, they may be prohibited from legally purchasing or owning a firearm, despite there being no evidence that those who need a fiduciary are more prone to violence than any others.
Moreover, these important decisions are made by VA general schedule employees, not a court or similar judicial authority, which singles out only VA beneficiaries. According to Cheney, hundreds of thousands of veterans and their family members have been denied their constitutional right to bear arms because of this practice.
The Veterans 2nd Amendment Protection Act would prohibit the VA from sending information on veterans (or beneficiaries) who are assisted by a fiduciary to NICS without a judicial ruling that they are a danger to themselves or others. This would ensure that veterans are afforded the same due process that every other American receives before any action is taken that would deprive them of one of the constitutional rights they fought to protect.
“I thank my friend, GOP Conference Chairwoman Cheney, for joining me in introducing this important legislation today,” Rep. Bost said. “Veterans fought to defend our constitutional rights, including the Second Amendment right to own a firearm. No government bureaucrat should be able to strip them of that right. This is a shameful practice that violates what our country stands for and keeps veterans from the benefits they’ve earned. That is unacceptable and Chairwoman Cheney and I won’t stand for it.”
Freelance writer and editor Mark Chesnut is the owner/editorial director at Red Setter Communications LLC. An avid hunter, shooter and political observer, he has been covering Second Amendment issues and politics on a near-daily basis for the past 20 years.