You may have read elsewhere that the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) has engaged in the scandalous practice of reporting to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) any VA beneficiary who has had a “fiduciary” appointed to help the individual manage his or her benefits. The NRA-ILA has supported Sen. Chuck Grassley’s (R-IA) strong leadership in opposing this unjustified practice. Sen. Grassley offered an amendment this week (May 24, 2016) to the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill that would prevent such reporting without an adjudication of dangerousness. Incredibly, anti-gun Democrats, lead by Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, blocked consideration of the amendment, arguing it was better to over-report those who pose no danger rather than risk not reporting someone who was mentally ill.
Even according to Durbin’s own figures, nearly 92% of the individuals reported by VA have not even been found seriously mentally ill, must less proven dangerous. Sen. Grassley’s amendment, moreover, would not prevent the reporting of individuals whose mental conditions rendered them a danger to self or others. It would simply require that fact to have been established by an adjudicative authority in a formal proceeding. Under the current VA reporting regime, the only threshold required for a veteran or a member of a veteran’s family to lose his or her Second Amendment rights, presumptively for life, is a bureaucratic decision that the individual is incompetent to manage his or her finances.
Sen. Grassley has not given up on correcting this rank injustice, and he may try to offer his amendment again at an opportune time.