Tags: America's Forum | Exclusive Interviews | Gun Control | Gun Rights | War on Terrorism | Chuck Grassley | veterans

Sen. Grassley: VA Trampling Vets' Second Amendment Rights

By    |   Friday, 17 April 2015 01:20 PM

Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley tells Newsmax TV that there's no way to justify the Veterans Administration's putting so many veterans on the "mental defective" list, which prevents them from legally obtaining firearms.

Grassley wrote a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder this week saying that the classification, which affects 83,000 veterans, "effectively voids their Second Amendment rights."

"This is something that we're not going to be able to justify," the Iowa Republican told J.D. Hayworth on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV on Friday.

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"About 99.3 percent of the individuals in this, what they call mental defective, category were submitted by the Veterans Administration," he said.

"I would admit to anybody that there's some people with mental disorders that should not have guns," he said. But the criteria that the VA is using to determine if someone is "mentally defective" includes needing "some assistance with your bookkeeping, somebody else to handle your money," Grassley said.

On those grounds the VA "would turn your name over to the Justice Department that you shouldn't be able to have a gun," he added.

"Just think how our veterans, who have defended the country and handled a gun in a responsible way, come back here, and somebody's got maybe a sister or a wife who's got to take care of their money for them, and then they can't have a gun," he said.

"That's no determination of whether you're mentally defective."

Grassley argues that "not being able to handle your own money is not a high-enough standard that you shouldn't be able to have a gun."

"I knew about this a year ago, and I had an amendment on a gun bill that was up in the United States Senate to make sure — before somebody is put on this list from the Veterans Administration — that there be a judicial authority who would have to find that that individual would have to be a danger to themselves, or others, in order to be added to this mental defective category that's at the index there where they keep names of people that shouldn't have guns," he said.

Grassley contends that the fact that 99.3 percent of those on the list come from the VA makes it look "like we have targeted one class of people, violating a fundamental constitutional right, which the Second Amendment is."

"There's something wrong when a whole class of people gets swept up and denied the right to own guns," he said. 

"If you're on this list within the Department of Justice, and you go in to buy a gun and the gun salesman has to make sure that you fall into the category of a person competent to own a gun, then they dial up this Department of Justice and see your name — you can't buy a gun," he said.

"It just doesn't treat our veterans right."

Retired Army Special Forces Lt. Col. Scott Mann, who joined Grassley on Newsmax TV, said he is "almost in disbelief" about the matter.

"I find it ironic that I carried a gun for nearly 23 years" as a soldier, "and all of our veterans, we put the confidence in them to carry a gun and destroy the enemy on some of the roughest places on the planet, but yet we're going to do something as sweeping as this," Mann said.

"We've got to have more confidence in our veterans than that," he said. "We've got to stop thinking of returning veterans as the Island of Misfit Toys."

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Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley tells Newsmax TV that there's no way to justify the Veterans Administration's putting so many veterans on the "mental defective" list, which prevents them from legally obtaining a firearm.
Chuck Grassley, veterans, VA, gun rights
Friday, 17 April 2015 01:20 PM
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