Gun and gun shell casing at crime scene

Senate Passes Amendment Impacting Gun Background Checks for Veterans

In the wake of a tragic mass shooting in Lewiston, Maine, where an Army reservist with reported mental health symptoms allegedly killed 18 people, the U.S. Senate approved an amendment that could impact the background check requirements for veterans and service members dealing with mental health issues. This amendment, authored by Republican Senators John Kennedy and Jerry Moran, has raised concerns over veterans potentially losing their gun rights.

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Background on the Amendment

The Kennedy-Moran amendment addresses the reporting of certain veterans to the National Criminal Background Check system by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) when their finances are under the management of a conservator at the VA. Under current law, if the VA assumes control of a veteran’s financial benefits in a conservatorship, the VA is mandated to report that veteran to the criminal background check system. The Kennedy amendment, passed by a Senate vote of 53-45, restricts the secretary from transmitting this information to the criminal background check system unless “a relevant judicial authority rules that the beneficiary is a danger to himself or others.”

Rationale Behind the Amendment

Senator Kennedy, when introducing the amendment, stated, “Every veteran who bravely serves our country has earned VA benefits, and it’s wrong for the government to punish veterans who get a helping hand to manage those benefits. Veterans who sacrificed to defend our Constitution shouldn’t see their own rights rest on the judgment of unelected bureaucrats.”

Maine Shooting Suspect and Mental Health Concerns

The shooting suspect in the Maine tragedy, Robert Card, allegedly exhibited erratic behavior during his deployment with the Army Reserve Unit. Card’s deployment took him to Camp Smith Training Center in upstate New York, where he supported summer training for West Point cadets. Investigators are currently examining potential mental health issues Card may have had and how he came into possession of a firearm when he carried out the attacks in Lewiston, leaving 18 victims dead.

Political Landscape in Maine

Democratic state lawmakers in Maine have repeatedly attempted to pass laws requiring universal background checks for all firearms, but these efforts have not succeeded. Maine already has regulations prohibiting individuals with certain criminal and medical histories from legally owning firearms. In 2016, Maine voters were presented with a referendum for background checks on all firearm sales, with some exceptions. Approximately 51% of voters opposed the measure.

The Amendment’s Legislative Journey

It’s important to note that the Kennedy-Moran amendment is still far from becoming law. It was passed as an amendment to a package of three major spending bills that the Senate is currently considering to fund the government. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer expects that the process of debating and voting on amendments will extend into the next week.

Moreover, even if the Senate passes the package, it will need to be reconciled with the House’s version, which may present challenges due to differing priorities. The Kennedy amendment could potentially be removed during this process. Ultimately, both chambers must approve the bills before they can be signed into law by President Joe Biden.

The Maine shooting tragedy has reignited discussions on the intersection of veterans’ rights, mental health issues, and gun control. As the legislative process unfolds, the nation will closely watch how this amendment could shape policies surrounding veterans and firearm ownership.

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  1. They’re about to need full body scanners at every VA if they keep on gaslighting and abusing veterans. My spine is fucked up so bad I can’t even get off the couch a lot of days, I’m dizzy, my sleep is interrupted, and I have suicide ideation because no end in sight. They won’t do surgery, won’t give pain medication, and they even said that basically they’ll never do surgery. Then they sent me to physical therapy to look like they are actually doing something so they can get paid. The lady asked me if I was “just going through the motions.” Bitch are you fucking kidding me? The charlatans won’t help! You don’t do physical therapy for someone in this kind of pain man and with myelopathy. Physical therapy can’t help that so you’re already engaged in chicanery and also harming someone mentally and physically by doing that shit. The mother fuckers need to be sued and the media is dishonest by not running stories about how fucked up that place is. People should be behind bars. It’s a total scam unless you need emergency care and they arbitrarily deny care. I’m service connected for the shit too so what they do is not legal.

  2. Another wasted opportunity to do good. He should have cleaned out a couple of them at VA instead of wasting innocent people. There are people responsible for the shit who work at VA…the people who fail to build relationships with veterans because of their political biases and inability to give a shit period. That to is on the VA for understaffing and underpayment but that’s tough shit. Someone has to pay. He should have issued to one of them the coup degras.

  3. The Kennedy Amendment is a good step in the right direction, the VA has already way too much power over a veteran, just because a veteran cannot manage his affairs is in no way a to be able to have that type of power over a veteran or anyone elsevalid reason for the government or the VA rogue agency

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