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Congress Tries Again To Restore Gun Rights To Veterans With Caretakers
A group of bipartisan senators want to reverse a longstanding federal policy that prevents veterans from owning firearms if someone else is handling their personal finances.
Since 1998, any vet who was assigned a fiduciary by the Department of Veterans Affairs to handle their money matters has been reported to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) as “mentally incompetent,” barring them from purchasing firearms. As of 2016, 167,815 vets’ names had been added to this database since the policy went into effect.
That’s not right, says Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa. Along with fellow Iowa Republican Sen. Joni Ernst and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Grassley is sponsoring a fix, called the “Veterans’ Second Amendment Rights Restoration Act of 2018,” that would give gun-buying rights to more vets with fiduciaries.
“Veterans are losing their Second Amendment rights because they have someone managing their checkbook,” Grassley said on the Senate floor, Tuesday. “It's that simple: You can't handle your finances, you lose your Second Amendment right.”
If passed, the law would allow a vet with a VA-assigned fiduciary to keep his or her gun-buying rights unless a court officially deams the veteran a danger to him or herself or others. The VA would have to submit individual cases to a three-person board comprised of state, federal, or administrative law judges, who would make the final determination on the vet’s fitness to own a firearm.
“When a constitutional right is involved, the burden must always be on the government,” Grassley said.
Critics of the proposal — which has bounced around for years — say it runs counter to the statistics on veterans and suicides by gun.
“With more than 20 veterans dying by suicide per day, the vast majority by firearm, today’s legislation would make it easier, not harder, for those veterans in crisis to get access to a firearm,” Rep. Elizabeth Esty, a Massachusetts Democrat, told Military.com last year when the bill was introduced in the House.
As Task & Purpose’s Adam Weinstein reported in March 2017, of the 167,000 or so vets on the no-buy list, roughly 19,500 had a diagnosis of schizophrenia; more than 15,000 suffered from post traumatic stress; 11,084 had dementia; 5,462 had Alzheimer’s; and 3,981 had depression. By the VA’s own estimates, on average, 6 of 20 vets who die by suicide received benefits from the department; numerous academic studies have determined that the availability of a firearm is a key factor in suicide rates.
“This bill would set a nearly impossible standard for the VA to prevent a veteran who is at risk of harming themselves or others from purchasing a gun,” Etsy said.
If passed into law, the bill wouldn’t automatically remove those who are currently in the FBI’s database, but vets with an active file would be able to challenge their classification under the new system.
New London — Retired four-star general John Kelly said that as President Donald Trump's chief of staff, he pushed back against the proposal to deploy U.S. troops to the southern border, arguing at the time that active-duty U.S. military personnel typically don't deploy or operate domestically.
"We don't like it," Kelly said in remarks at the Coast Guard Academy on Thursday night. "We see that as someone else's job meaning law enforcement."
These 'kamikaze' drones are believed to be the culprits of the attacks on 2 Saudi oil fields. Here's what we know about them
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Business Insider.
Yemen's Houthi rebel group, part of a regional network of militants backed by Iran, claims to be behind the drone strikes on two Saudi oil facilities that have the potential to disrupt global oil supplies.
A report from the United Nations Security Council published in January suggests that Houthi forces have obtained more powerful drone weaponry than what was previously available to them, and that the newer drones have the capability to travel greater distances and inflict more harm.
The U.S. Air Force has selected two companies to make an extreme cold-weather boot for pilots as part of a long-term effort to better protect aviators from frostbite in emergencies.
In August the service awarded a contract worth up to $4.75 million to be split between Propel LLC and the Belleville Boot Company for boots designed keep pilots' feet warm in temperatures as low as -20 Fahrenheit without the bulk of existing extreme cold weather boots, according to Debra McLean, acquisition program manager for Clothing & Textiles Domain at Air Force Life Cycle Management Command's Agile Combat Support/Human Systems Division.
DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran rejected accusations by the United States that it was behind attacks on Saudi oil plants that risk disrupting world energy supplies and warned on Sunday that U.S. bases and aircraft carriers in the region were in range of its missiles.
Yemen's Houthi group claimed responsibility for Saturday's attacks that knocked out more than half of Saudi oil output or more than 5% of global supply, but U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the assault was the work of Iran, a Houthi ally.
Nearly a decade after he allegedly murdered an unarmed Afghan civilian during a 2010 deployment, the case of Army Maj. Matthew Golsteyn is finally going to trial.