Friday, NRA TV highlighted the Veterans 2nd Amendment Protection Act in its interview with DisabledVeterans.org founder Benjamin Krause (me).

Last week, I was interviewed on NRA TV about veterans rights and the 2nd Amendment pertaining to a new bill just passed by the House of Representatives. The bill is aimed at forcing the federal government to provide veterans with the same rights as nonveterans.

The current state of administrative law within VA allows the agency to adjudicate whether a veteran is competent to handle their finances. If the veteran is not competent, VA will appoint a fiduciary and the veteran loses all control of their VA benefits.

Contrary to distortions primarily from liberal media sources, the bill is not intended to give mentally incompetent people the right to own guns. That is not what this is about.

The bill is all about protecting the fundamental right of veterans to own a firearm unless a judge in court determines that the respective veteran is mentally incompetent.

That is the law as it relates to nonveterans.

Nonveterans get a competency hearing in front of a judge. Veterans, the same individuals who fought to protect such rights, are not presently afforded that same protection.

This bill is simply about protecting the rights of veterans using the same due process protections afforded to those who did not serve.

No one wants mentally incompetent people to own firearms, but all Americans deserve a right to be heard in court before being stripped of a fundamental right.

This bill seeks to do just that despite what is being asserted by NPR and other media outlets.

Make sense?

Background On ‘No Buy’ List, Financial Incompetence Issue With VA Fiduciary

In 1998, President Clinton’s FBI signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with VA that required VA to send the FBI the names of any veterans not competent to manage their finances for inclusion in a no buy list for firearms. Other agencies were required to do the same.

Since then, law disproportionately affected veterans. Of the 175,000 Americans affected by the reporting requirement, over 99% are veterans.

The screwy part of the legal framework at play here is that the law is really focused on individuals who, due to a mental defect, are a danger to themselves or others, or are unable to contract or manage their own affairs. This kind of determination impairs an individual’s right to property and to a right to buy a firearm.

Here is the screwy part.

It is important to note that nonveterans must be tried before a judge to reach a conclusion that the person, due to mental defect, should not own a firearm. That judge will need to decide whether the nonveteran is a risk to himself or others, or if the nonveteran is incapable of entering into a contract or to manage their own affairs.

Boiled down, the big difference is that nonveterans get a trial with a judge and likely a lawyer.

VA merely focuses on whether the veteran can manage their VA benefits without limitation. The latter qualification, “without limitation,” is quite important because it lowers the bar rather than raises the bar for a determination of incompetence when compared to the nonveteran equivalent.

Further, this determination only removes control of the veteran’s VA benefits but not their other finances. For example, a veteran who inherits money will have full control over that money or assets. The VA fiduciary will still maintain full control over their finances.

VA Incompetence Determination Is Different

So, when VA makes the limited determination solely for the purpose of managing VA benefits, it is not the same as the same determination for a nonveteran.

Not only is the purpose of the VA fiduciary scheme different, but the veteran is not afforded a competency trial in front of a judge. Instead, VA adjudicators handle the decisionmaking meaning a nonlawyer decides the fate of the veteran related to not only control over their money but also the fundamental right to own a firearm.

This begs the question, why do veterans get fewer rights or less protection of their rights than nonveterans who never served?

Last week, fourteen generals came out against the bill with a chicken little cry for help. They claim veterans will commit suicides more if VA is forced to provide veterans with the same rights as nonveterans. The generals fail to cite any research or source, only apparent hyperbole.

RELATED: Ex-Generals Capitalize On Veteran Suicide Epidemic To Oppose Gun Rights

It is a fact that 20 veterans commit suicide every day. Approximately six of these veterans receive benefits from VA. There exists no study or evidence that more veterans would commit suicide if the law changes.

However, even if such evidence did exist, could that same evidence be sufficient to justify denying the fundamental right of gun ownership without a competency hearing before a judge?

No. Veterans deserve a right to a hearing just like other Americans they fought to protect.

The Dirty Secret

The other dirty secret of this unconstitutional scheme is that VA is totally and completely unable to consistently adjudicate disability claims with any level of accuracy.

Of the claims overturned by the US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, an astonishing 70% or more are vacated because VA took a substantially unjustifiable position. This means VA completely screwed the pooch in over 70% of the remanded cases.

How can any agency that gets disability adjudications, the basis for any fiduciary claim, grossly wrong with such frequency be trusted to correctly and fairly adjudicate a veteran’s fundamental right?

Adding insult to injury, veterans erroneously pushed into the program by mistake are then unable to hire an attorney to represent them against the agency because the VA fiduciary then controls all the money.

This seems like a very effective, anti-veteran catch-22 the agency has created, no?

There is no question some veterans should not own firearms due to a mental defect. No one would argue otherwise. But do even these veterans no deserve their day in court?

After all, these same veterans were severely injured as a result of protecting the rights of all other Americans.

Compounding matters, VA was just cited by OIG for again failing in its ability to merely set up suicide prevention call centers called the Veterans Crisis Line.

How can an agency unable to figure out call centers be trusted to successfully and accurately adjudicate matters related to any fundamental right?

What To Do About Fundamental Rights

It is time America has a grown up conversation about how it treats veterans. Why do we have fewer rights than nonveterans?

Did anyone tell us that when we enlisted, we also signed away numerous rights for life?

We have no real choice in who provides us with health care.

We have no right to hire a lawyer to help with our benefits until after VA builds its case against us – this is an infringement of the right to contract.

We also have no reasonable protection against deprivation of property or a right to keep and bear arms.

All veterans fought to protect the constitutional rights of all Americans. Little did we know we were sacrificing our own rights for life.

Source: https://www.nratv.com/series/stinchfield/video/stinchfield-ben-krause-protecting-the-rights-of-veterans/episode/stinchfield-season-1-episode-54

CorpsmanUp!

Can’t believe this administration is still allowing OIGs in duplicative form through all the agencies. OIGs are just mere stool pigeons when someone is on the Agency’s trail for the truth. You have fbi, oigs, gaos, legos, poptarts and a fat lady in a tu tu wasting tax payers money. People are so afraid of guns, they should be afraid of polonium warfare :p

Ex va

Great Job Benjamin Krause!!!

cj

This is good. Thank you Ben.

Disgruntled Veteran
Great Interview, Ben! There are many veterans in Hawaii who have been relieved over the years of their weapons for simply daring to seek mental help with the VA. Hawaii’s Politicians By and Large are really quick to say, “Thank You for your Service” but when it comes to ACTUALLY helping veterans, they fall far short of the mark. Case in point: When I wrote my letter to President Obama concerning my wrongful separation from the U.S. Navy and subsequent… Read more »
CD2

FYI, Disgruntled Veteran:

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard voted in favor of this bill in support of Veterans and the Constitution.

I’m not sure why you didn’t contact your CD1 Congressperson, but targeting Major Gabbard with your vitriol is disingenuous.

Disgruntled Veteran
CD2, I will have to look up her recent vote on this issue. If I need to issue amplification and/or a formal apology, I will do it here and in public. As for the rest of my “Vitriol that is disingenuous” targeting Major Gabbard, facts are facts. In the Marine Corps and Navy generations in which I served, we were taught not to sugar coat things. I stand by my statement. If I need to talk to a reporter and… Read more »
Disgruntled Veteran

Great Job, Ben!
On another matter – – – Typed a really long (for me) comment to this article. Now, I see a statement saying my comment is awaiting moderation. Anybody else having difficulty posting? Did WordPress make some changes recently to their templates?

OLDMARINE
Why do we have fewer rights than nonveterans?……. well thats kind of easy we would be the biggest threat to them. we are there #1 enemy in their minds because they are all a bunch of crooks. just like a crook going to rob a store he wouldn’t rob the store owner he knows has a gun. so the more guns you take from your EX workers =us VET’S the more of a threat reduction to them …….so when i… Read more »
OLDMARINE

World Domination With No Reason Other Than Psychopathic Thirst For Power

namnibor

“The Brain: Come, Pinky, we must prepare for tomorrow night.
Pinky: Why? What are we going to do tomorrow night.
The Brain: Same thing we do every night, Pinky. Try to take over the WORLD!
[the film slows down and rips apart]
[Singers: They’re Pinky, They’re Pinky and the Brain Brain Brain Brain Brain.]”

namnibor

…’Pinky & The Brain’

namnibor
I’ve come to the conclusion that until the entire VA Agency is appointed a proper fiduciary and the most thorough audit of entire system ever performed in USA, by someone OTHER than the damn VA, will be what finally sheds light on the billion$ bleeding from tax payers to support an agency that’s essentially become a Federal Works Welfare Program (FWWP) for AFGE union thugs. Veterans are only a ways to the means test of their cookie jar. Great job… Read more »
Crazy elf
There’s that very old saying; “They can have my weapon, when they pry it from my cold dead hand!” Many of my friends have: “LEGALLY POSSESSED UNREGISTERED FIREARMS!” There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a Constitutional Rights thing! The 2nd Amendment doesn’t say anything about registering any firearm. It just says: Quote: “Right to Bear Arms 1791!” “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms,… Read more »
OLDMARINE

AMEN BROTHER

Crazy elf
Two articles of concern; 1) From; “military.com/Daily News dated: 21 Mar. 2017 titled; “Report: Calls to Vets’ Suicide Hotline Still Sent to Backup Centers” via: “Stars and Stripes | by Nikki Wentling Good article. Still, some of the statements made by our elected officials, are nothing more than gobbly gook bullshit! ____________________ #2.) From; “Conservative Free Press” titled; “The Dictator Who Couldn’t Do Anything!” by: Admin dated: Mar. 20, 2017 Read this one. It’s filled with facts over what President… Read more »
Crazy elf

This was published on 21 Mar. 2017 by “Fox News!” (5:04 minutes long)!
titled:
VA Hospital Staff Already Removed Presidential Portraits Hung on Friday #DNN”

Great video to watch! Watch what the Congressman had to say about this crap.
Then, leave a comment.

Disgruntled Veteran

Congressman Mast was On Target. Loved how he challenged the VA. And am betting over time that he will follow up on many veterans issues . . .

Crazy elf

This article comes from; “The Post”
titled;
“Trump Plans to Zero Out 19 Agencies”

dated: 21 Mar. 2017
by: Kerry Lear: Staff Writer
Wait till you read what these agencies receive taxpayers monies for! It should piss you off!

Dennis
Two simple words are what is really the matter at hand – Due Process. The question boils down to this singular principle upon which America was founded. I could give a shit about what memorandum of understanding was sent by Clinton to VA, or even what kind of memorable understanding good ol Bill Clinton had with Monica about where he poked his cigar. What the issue at hand is what kind of understanding does America expect of Due Process? In… Read more »
91Veteran

You raise a good point Dennis.

Isn’t it a slap in the face to veterans to have their right to due process removed by Bill Clinton.

Bill Clinton, who took advantage of every due process he could after getting caught boinking an intern.

Imagine if his right to due process had been removed years before after being declared sexually incompetent after a sexual assault.

91Veteran
Before I read your column Ben, I just watched the interview and I must say that was a very, very good interview with very serious details provided. Thank you for not pulling any punches. No matter your stance on gun rights, in my opinion the issue here is removing rights from any veteran without due process. Of we don’t stand up to this abomination, what other rights will be removed at the whim of a bureaucrat? It certainly was good… Read more »
91Veteran
Before I get into the column, I forgot to mention this wouldn’t be as big of an issue if the media covered your NRA interview and this column as thoroughly as they covered the hack generals opposing this. If they covered the issue factually and honestly, there would be no politician opposing the law. To the column. You mention the VA declaring a veteran incompetent, but I would really like to see a description of VA policy on the process… Read more »
namnibor

“Misguided Generals”….I loved that candy-coated term for retired hacks.

91Veteran

If I had to use softer terms, misguided works.

Or easily mislead.

Or showing a total disregard for the oath they took.

lawyerlynn
Ben, why do you call these rights (Bill of Rights) “fundamental rights” instead of their REAL name: Inalienable Rights. Since you’re a lawyer, you can explain how these rights are not granted by a government, like you state, but they are inherent rights to everyone. Cannot be “aliened” … cannot put a lien or any restriction on the inherent right. That’s the true meaning of these so-called enumerated rights. Yes, the courts have ruled that there are “fundamental” rights, but… Read more »
91Veteran
I agree with your argument that there is no need for a new law. I also agree that there IS a need for a new law at this point given the state of bureaucracy today. I look on this law as a black and white clear message to those pigs that it is against the law to remove the rights of veterans without due process. Now if we could only convince those same politicians that due process is equally important… Read more »
lawyerlynn
Does the new law acquiesce inalienable rights, similar to how one contract can replace another? I appreciate the thoughts, I am just always throwing out ideas for consideration and research. Because of the outstanding work on many levels, by Ben Krause, host of this forum/etc., we can talk about different things, at least for now. I don’t have any answers, only questions. Some opinions. I always hope I’m wrong about my opinions, as sometimes, well, it looks bleak. Just for… Read more »
namnibor
The truly enormous scandal awaits its scab being pulled-back to have a massive *external audit* of the entire VA Fiduciary Program with a made public list of all VA Appointed Fiduciaries and the # of Veteran’s Benefits they “maintain in trust”…why? I remember reading over at hadit dot com long ago that a single VA Fiduciary can have several Veteran’s benefits in their trust @ a % of their entire benefit in exchange for “managing their $” and that’s for… Read more »
namnibor

Benjamin-

That would be a great massive FOIA Request…shed total daylight on the VA’s Fiduciary Program.

91Veteran

Good point on a fiduciary colluding with some C&P examiner or VARO rater.

Or any other thieving rat in the VA with their rat claws out.

namnibor
What I am interested in knowing id if such a FOIA Request were made, would the VA claim “Privacy Reasons” in not being able to provide a list of every Acting Fiduciary for Veterans and the # and names of Vets they are Appointed VA Fiduciaries for? Also, do not forget to request HOW MANY each Fiduciary manages and the Comp. % each Vet. I am not a gambling man but if I were, the whole lot would be on… Read more »
OLDMARINE

i think your right about the worms

Disgruntled Veteran

@Nam – Durn tootin’ right the VA claims “Privacy Reasons” when it suits THEM. As for Veterans Privacy that is AHaHaHaNother matter. That they can break at will.

Wife handed me this article this morning “http://www.staradvertiser.com/2017/03/20/hawaii-news/low-morale-plagues-staff-at-veterans-medical-offices/”

From yesterday. Accurate portion is that Administrators create the VAST MAJORITY of problems at the Honolulu Facility. Both on VHA and VBA sides.

Screwed up part is where David Stockwell tries to paint a rosy picture on a pile of dogshit. But what else is new?

namnibor
If the VA were to deny such a FOIA request, it would only mean that they were indeed hiding something. I recall some years ago, at least within last 10 yrs., there was a scandal within the Midwest Indy VA Fiduciary Program and correct me if am errant on timeframe, but I am thinking when the Phoenix VAMC Wait List broke out in media 2014-ish or a bit before, it pretty much covered-up a bunch of other fires going on… Read more »
91Veteran
Nam, I’m thinking the only way they would comply with a FOIA on the fiduciary program is if you requested the total number of vets in the program, total number of fiduciaries and total number of complaints against them. It would also be interesting to request the total money involved. Even then, I don’t believe they would provide that if they use the excuse that it is creating a record. If they did comply, they then couldn’t use the privacy… Read more »
namnibor

91Veteran-

Those retired misguided generals get the very special edition military specifications rugged Viagra PEZ dispenser. Spared no expense to keep those stars pointy. 🙂

Disgruntled Veteran

Talked on the phone with ANutterVet for a few hours this morning. He is OK, but a bit under the weather health-wise (as are we all). Sends his Aloha and says his fight ain’t over yet.

He’ll be back when it is time.

Jo3n

Good to hear about DV. @Ben, ya done great. As you presented the bill, I find it difficult to understand why those 20 x generals would oppose it. Keep it up Ben. Most people are right on today.

LP
Had a VA appt today. Labs for no reason except that I requested a different doc. Request went in two months ago because the dr stated with loud frustration and head shaking that she didn’t have time to look at my records, listen to anything I said, and enter in the data from the nurse. Now that’s as close as I can get to a quote. This new doc immediately looked at my meds, told me I was on a… Read more »
Dennis
Next time, although HIGHLY ILLEGAL, bring a box of jelly filled donuts and “drop” it on her desk by accident after she says she won’t give you the primo drugs. Then excuse yourself to the potty. When you return, if she follows VA tradition, the box will have been replaced by a written prescription on a secure VA prescription form (which hides the prescription from ANY scrutiny otherwise set up to limit drugs. Admittedly the act of bribing a VA… Read more »
namnibor
I propose we load those Oregonian Poop Canons with only the best jelly-filled donuts and at the same time right beside the “donut canon” have a fully prepared regular Poop Canon. Set both canons outside the VA Federal Property, right outside the gates of every VAMC and firstly turn-on the Jelly Canon to ensure each and every VA employee comes outside, ignoring patients in mid-surgery, and as soon as property is vacant of jelly-filled employees then turn-on full velocity and… Read more »
OLDMARINE

i have requested a new doctor before and the second one more screwed up than the first

91Veteran
Get a copy of that report through MyHeathEVet or through ROI, or both. Compare it with the copy you have. If they are completely different, write a letter to the Privacy Officer asking them to investigate why, because the incorrect report is negatively affecting your treatment. Ask them to expedite it because the incorrect treatment will affect your health. PUT. IT. IN. WRITING. Hell she could have been reading somebody else’s MRI report. If you hear why the reports are… Read more »
cj

@LP: 91Veterand is right, very good advice. You have to cover your ass at all times with these damn people.

Dennis

The confusion and resulting anger over VA behavior in America is honestly the result of The Giant Deception.

The Giant Deception is defined as “…a belief that government can make things better.”

Dennis

I should add the second Great Deception; ” a belief that drugs can make things better.”

LP

That drug keeps me from feeling: electrical fire, white hot burning cables throughout my extremities. AND cuts my breathing pain in half.
So this Does make my life better. It also Saves the lives of many VA employees, and many shit bag civis.

LP
This is the third or fourth time my records have been changed. Veteran Advocates don’t help. Congress ignores it. Hospital Administrators defer to whatever the doc says no matter what evidence I bring to prove the doc wrong. Looks like people are in the VA to make Sure we suffer Long enough to kill ourselves or kill them…which would make the argument for Vets being unstable all the more powerful. Since these fucks know that we as individuals wont do… Read more »
cj
@LP: Their latest trick is losing your records altogether, get a complete copy asap. This holds true for the National Records Archives as well. Last time I ordered a complete set I got 7 pages, and 2 of those were explaining what the other 5 were. I called and they said that is all they have. Incompetent workers have been throwing veterans records out, taking them home and destroying them, and putting one veterans records in another veterans records file,… Read more »
ANutterVet
*OFF TOPIC* – Just A Thought – The VA takes advantage of Veterans when they’re weak and helpless. Sound discouraging? Well you’re right, it is discouraging. The VA will promote itself as being an agency recognized [in their own eyes], as one that is proud of taking care of the Veterans of the United States. But yet, when a Veteran trusts the VA and opens up their heart by telling the VA everything, and then when its time for the… Read more »
Disgruntled Veteran
So true, ANutterVet. Some of us have hurried up, now we have been waiting for over twenty years. How much longer? Delay, Deny, Hope the Veteran Dies. SOP for the VA. Good to talk with you on the phone yesterday. As you may have guessed, I’m having a bit of a hard time with things. If I sounded rude on the phone, I did not mean to. I have had less than twenty hours sleep over the last week. I… Read more »
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