1. Please use the letter at the bottom of this alert to contact your Senators and to ask them to read the Veterans Disarmament Act for themselves. But urge them to read the ENTIRE BILL, not just a few lines here and there. They dare not vote for this bill without having read the text -- and the underlying law and regulations -- for themselves! This alert will address some of the most frequently misunderstood points about the Veterans Disarmament Act and give you the material you need to set your Senators straight.
2. GOA members will be receiving important mailings in the next several weeks, asking them to renew their membership for another year. Please take the time to do this. We need you working with us, because with your help, we will continue to have a tremendous impact upon legislation in the Congress. As stated by Sen. David Vitter, "Gun Owners of America is one of the most effective and important political organizations in this country.... [They] can mobilize gun owners from all across America, uniting them into a single powerful voice that politicians in Washington dare not ignore."
Friday, October 26, 2007
It's either an enormous bald-faced lie, or it's ignorance at its worst. But then again, whether it's deception or just plain ignorance... either scenario is found quite commonly on Capitol Hill.
Some senate offices are telling people the Leahy-Schumer bill is only a bill about "school safety" and not a bill about disarming veterans.
"This is not a Veterans Disarmament Act," some offices have told GOA staff. "The bill doesn’t say anything about veterans." And one particular office -- that of Republican Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah -- is selectively quoting provisions in the bill to justify his support for the Veterans Disarmament Act.
These arguments have been repeated in different places and at different times. There is even a military website where a broadcast journalist makes the same outlandish claim that, "There is no such thing as the 'Veterans Disarmament Act.'"
But just like journalists shouldn't attempt brain surgery, neither should they try to understand difficult pieces of legislation without an intimate knowledge of the federal code and regulations which are referenced in those bills.
After all, it takes more digging than just doing a word search for the word "veteran" to understand there are dangers hidden in the McCarthy-Schumer bill which would ban hundreds of thousands of military veterans from owning guns. While it's not surprising that a journalist would fail to do this kind of homework, it is surprising that congressional offices would use such an amateurish argument to deflect criticism of a bill.
Of course, the bill doesn't say "Veterans Disarmament Act." (That's a phrase that was coined by Gun Owners of America.) Does anyone really think that Schumer & Co. are going to tell us that their true intentions are to disarm veterans! Heck no. They call it a "school safety" bill, when the real goal of their measure is to disarm gun owners and veterans around the country.
The history of legislation in the 20th Century has taught us that legislation -- if not carefully crafted -- can be easily twisted and abused. Remember how the RICO Act, originally enacted to help combat the Mafia, was later used to crack down on peaceful pro-life protesters?
And who would have thought, when the original Brady law was passed in 1993, that it would be used to keep people with outstanding traffic tickets from buying guns... or couples with marriage problems from buying guns... or military vets with nightmares from buying guns?
Those who want to claim that there is no "Veterans Disarmament Act" ignore, first of all, that up to 140,000 veterans have ALREADY BEEN DISARMED by using twisted interpretations of the federal code! That figure was released on August 1 by Congress' own research team -- the Congressional Research Service.
Furthermore, the so-called "school safety" bill that Senators Patrick Leahy and Chuck Schumer are pushing would LEGITIMIZE the very practice that began with President Clinton, when his administration began adding military vets onto the NICS roles. (The bill is numbered H.R. 2640 in the House and S. 2084 in the Senate.)
The Veterans Disarmament Act *Does Change* Federal Law
The fact is, this legislation rubber-stamps regulations that have been issued by the BATFE over the years. The net result is that Section 203(2) of S. 2084 ends up outlawing guns for millions of people (including veterans) who are not "currently prohibited" from owning guns.
You can see in greater detail how these regulations will drive the implementation of the Veterans Disarmament Act.
The bottom line is that this bill will ban a person from owning guns because he or she was merely diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, Alzheimer's, ADHD or bipolar disorder by a government psychologist or psychiatrist in the VA, Medicare, or the IDEA program. This is because the Veterans Disarmament Act will CODIFY regulations that BATFE has issued. (Again, see the URL above for more details.)
False Attempts At Defending The Veterans Gun Ban
Nevertheless, those who merely do word searches for "veteran" -- and thus conclude a bill has nothing to say about veterans -- try to defend what the Clinton administration did. Take Senator Hatch. He says, the Veterans Disarmament Act specifically excludes "any finding of mental illness that consists only of a medical diagnoses [sic] from being included in the NICS."
What Hatch is doing is quoting (or referencing) half a sentence in the bill to make the supposed argument that veterans who are only suffering from PTSD will not fall prey to the gun ban, since they are only subject to a "medical finding of disability."
This is a partial quote from Section 211(c)(1)(C) of S. 2084, which is duplicated in the House bill. But to say this -- that people can't lose their gun rights based solely on a "medical finding of disability" -- is to engage in an outright fraud... because the rest of the sentence in the bill says that they can be added into the NICS system if they represent a miniscule danger to themselves or others or are unable to handle their own affairs.
The legislation states that a person can’t lose their gun rights "based solely on a medical finding of disability, WITHOUT A FINDING THAT THE PERSON IS A DANGER TO HIMSELF OR TO OTHERS." (Emphasis added.) You see that? What little freedom is protected with the one hand, is destroyed with the other. What government shrink isn't going to say that a person suffering from PTSD is a potential danger -- even a teensy, weensy danger -- to himself or others?
A BATFE letter from May 9 of this year indicates that this danger does not have to be a substantial threat; it can be just a MINISCULE danger.
Yes, this gets slightly technical. But it helps to actually read entire sentences in the bill, rather than to selectively quote a passage here or there; and it especially helps to read the underlying federal code and regulations.
That's why Gun Owners of America has posted the entire bill -- and a scholarly point-by-point analysis of the Veterans Disarmament Act -- here. By reading this information for yourself, you can stay informed on the very real threat posed by this legislation.
When you read through that section, you will understand why the American Legion and the Military Order Of The Purple Heart have both opposed this bill. You will also see the PDF copies of their two letters of opposition, and see Sen. Tom Coburn's letter which GOA reported on last week. Sen. Coburn sent his letter to Veterans Affairs and asked them to explain how they plan to prevent even more veterans from being disarmed without due process.
Earlier this week, USA Today stated that veterans are seeking mental health treatment in increasing numbers... by an almost 70% jump in a recent 12-month period. Can you see why Senator Chuck Schumer and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy want this legislation so bad? Hundreds of thousands of veterans are going to be unknowingly sucked into the gun control dragnet.
This is outrageous and is why your Senators need to keep hearing from you on this issue.
You can use the pre-written message below and send it as an e-mail by visiting the GOA Legislative Action Center (where phone and fax numbers are also available).
----- Pre-written letter -----
Dear Senator: I find it outrageous that there are offices on Capitol Hill with the audacity to claim that S. 2084 -- a bill introduced by committed anti-gun activists like Patrick Leahy and Chuck Schumer -- will neither affect veterans nor deny them their constitutional rights.
The truth is, S. 2084 -- and its House counterpart, H.R. 2640 -- may claim to deal with "school safety," but its real aim is to take away people's gun rights. And those who have served in the military will be especially affected.
The Veterans Disarmament Act -- let's call it what it really is -- will result in the disarmament of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of veterans who risked life and limb in defense of our nation. Already, the Congressional Research Service has reported that up to 140,000 veterans have had their names placed into the NICS system, and these are men and women who have NOT been convicted of any crimes whatsoever!
It's no wonder that the American Legion and the Military Order of the Purple Heart have opposed this legislation. This legislation CHANGES statutory law so that a single shrink (a government psychiatrist, psychologist, or social worker) can deny any person -- yes, even a military veteran -- their Second Amendment rights.
If you think this bill has nothing to do with veterans -- or that this bill does not change federal law -- then please do me a favor. Read the ENTIRE BILL, not just a few lines here and there. And after you've read the bill, please look at the underlying law and regulations which are referenced in the bill.
Gun Owners of America has devoted a special section on its website at http://www.gunowners.org/netb.htm so that people can easily do this. This section also allows you to read the entire bill and get a scholarly point-by-point analysis of the Veterans Disarmament Act.
I am still waiting for you to join the hold on this legislation that was placed by Sen. Tom Coburn. What is taking you so long?