Congress has given gun owners in America a Christmas gift: a blade in the back, according to officials with Gun Owners of America.
The organization said the plan supported by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and others, and known as the Veterans Disarmament Act by opponents, is being forwarded now to President Bush.
While other gun groups have endorsed H.R. 2640, a comprehensive plan to expand the powers of the Brady Bill gun restriction plan, Gun Owners of America has opposed it vigorously, and described its provisions for banning individuals, especially veterans, from owning guns as unreasonable.
“The core of the bill’s problems is section 101(c)(1)(C), which makes you a ‘prohibited person’ on the basis of a ‘medical finding of disability,’ so long as a veteran had an ‘opportunity’ for some sort of ‘hearing’ before some ‘lawful authority’ (other than a court),” the organization said in a new criticism of the plan. “Presumably, this ‘lawful authority’ could even be the psychiatrist himself,” the organization said.
“Note that unlike with an accused murderer, the hearing doesn’t have to occur. The ‘lawful authority’ doesn’t have to be unbiased. The veteran is not necessarily entitled to an attorney – much less an attorney financed by the government,” the group said.
Gun Owners of America earlier launched a campaign encouraging citizens to call their U.S. senators and ask them to oppose the bill that could be described as “disarmament by diagnosis.”
The Gun Owners also were joined by other organizations in opposing the proposal, including the Military Order of the Purple Heart, and the American Legion.
“The American Legion, the nation’s largest wartime veterans’ service organization, strongly opposes specific provisions of H.R. 2640 … that would unilaterally abrogate the rights of certain service-connected disabled veterans to own firearms, a right guaranteed by the Second Amendment,” the group said in a newly released statement.
The Schumer scheme would update federal law in the United States concerning the ownership of guns, and restrictions on those who can own firearms. A decades-old law creates a ban on gun ownership for anyone who has been adjudicated to be mentally defective, Eric Pratt, a spokesman for Gun Owners, told WND. It was intended to be used in cases when a person is declared innocent by reason of insanity in criminal cases.
However, the proposed update would allow that “adjudication” to be determined not only by a court but by any competent authority, which could include a Veterans Administration psychologist, any panel of psychologists or a wide range of other possible “competent authorities.”
It also would automatically include people on a federal no-gun-ownership limit who have been diagnosed with some behavior-related childhood conditions, and in a provision that is especially objectionable to the Gun Owners organization, any veterans diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Pratt’s organization also has published an open letter to members of the National Rifle Association, which has not been opposing the legislation on the grounds there are provisions that would allow an improperly classified person to “regain” his or her Second Amendment rights.
The letter, from GOA founder and chairman Sen. H.L. “Bill” Richardson, Executive Director Larry Pratt, and legal counsel Michael Hammond, noted the three include two Life Members of the NRA and one who was a paid consultant for the NRA.
Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., announcing a provision to allow doctors to ban people from owning guns
“In fact, over the last 30 years, GOA and its staff have worked with NRA to facilitate most of our pro-gun victories…” the group said. “But those who staff the NRA, without consulting the membership, have now made a series of strange and dangerous alliances with the likes of Chuck Schumer, Carolyn McCarthy, and Pat Leahy. And we believe that, if allowed to continue, this will produce anti-gun policies which the NRA staff will bitterly regret.”
“What the bill does is to lock in – statutorily – huge numbers of additional law-abiding Americans who will now be denied the right to own a firearm,” Pratt’s organization said. “And then it ‘graciously’ allows these newly disarmed Americans to spend tens of thousands of dollars for a long-shot change to regain the gun rights this very bill takes away from them.”
“Let’s make one thing clear: the efforts begun during the Clinton presidency to disarm battle-scarred veterans – promoted by the Brady Anti-Gun Campaign – is illegal and morally reprehensible. But section 101(c)(1)(C) of H.R. 2640 would rubber-stamp those illegal actions. Over 140,000 law-abiding veterans would be statutorily barred from possessing firearms.”
The organization, however, said it would continue the battle. “GOA wants to repeal the gun-free zones that disarm law-abiding Americans and repeal the other gun restrictions that are on the books. That is the answer to Virginia Tech. Unfortunately, the House and Senate chose the path of imposing more gun control.”