Tags: Gun Control | Gun Rights | Health Topics | Veterans | Anxiety | Depression | mentally

Vets Coalition Against 'Mentally Incompetent' Vets Buying Guns

Image: Vets Coalition Against 'Mentally Incompetent' Vets Buying Guns
Gen. David Petraeus (AP Photo)

By    |   Wednesday, 15 Mar 2017 04:51 PM

A group of former military officials has come out against a House bill that would reportedly enable more than 167,000 veterans deemed "mentally incompetent" to buy guns.

"This would be irresponsible, dangerous, and life threatening to those who need access to care, not weapons," the group of 14 ex-officials wrote in a letter to congressional leaders.

The Department of Veterans Affairs considers vets who manage their VA benefits and need another person to help with their finances as "mentally incompetent" – and reports their names to the FBI, which adds them to a national database that gun merchants are required to check before selling a firearm, Stars and Stripes reported.

The House Committee on Veterans' Affairs last week advanced legislation that would do away with that practice, and instead require the court system to determine whether veterans pose a threat to themselves or others before they are added to the database.

Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., chairman of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, sponsored the bill.

But members of the Veterans Coalition for Common Sense asserted Tuesday the bill could hike the risk for veterans' suicides.

"When vulnerable veterans have access to firearms, they can do harm not only to themselves but also to family members and loved ones," their letter read.

"The impact of these tragedies is felt in communities across our nation."

The letter writers include Gen. Stanley McChrystal, Gen. James Hill, Gen. David Petraeus, and Admiral Thad Allen, who President Donald Trump considered for VA secretary, Stars and Stripes noted.

According to a report from the Congressional Research Service in February, federal agencies had added 171,083 names to the FBI database as of Dec. 31, 2016. Of those people, the VA added 167,815, Stars and Stripes reported.

Citing VA data, Roe said the VA reported approximately 32,000 names last year.

According to Stars and Stripes, though the bill has unsuccessfully come up in Congress multiple times, its current introduction follows President Donald Trump's revocation last month of an Obama-era rule banning Social Security beneficiaries from owning guns if they were mentally ill or deemed incapable of handling their finances.

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A group of former military officials has come out against a House bill that would reportedly enable more than 167,000 veterans deemed "mentally incompetent" to buy guns.
mentally, incompetent, legislation, coalition
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2017-51-15
Wednesday, 15 Mar 2017 04:51 PM
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