Veterans Gun Seizure Hoax Debunked…Somewhat (updated)

The Stories Out There are Lies, but the Truth?


By Gordon Duff, Senior Editor


Over 550,000 Americans can’t own firearms because of “mental incompetence.”  21% of those are veterans. 

Editor:  A note I think is needed; the article below will describe a “dual system” for establishing broad mental disability, enough to deny weapons rights.  It is very important that veterans carefully review this article in its entirety.  If veterans avoid needed care because of misinformation or the very real threat outlined below, it would not only be a disaster but one that groups like the American Enterprise Institute wish to bring about.  This article isn’t the “end all,” but a sign that veterans need to remain vigilant in maintaining their rights.

Stories about “new letters” or a “new law” are total bunk.  The law that authorizes gun seizures for those “adjudicated mentally ill” was passed in 1997 but nothing was said about it for over 15 years.  The law that is “in force” is the same one every gun owner in America is subject to, the question that is on every weapons background check and has been for many years.

Why bring it up now, why lie about it?  Why victimize veterans with vicious scares and rumor mongering?

The wild stories are being used to terrify vets and are, in fact, preying on veterans, particularly those with PTSD.  It isn’t just vets, nearly half of the police officers and firefighters in the US suffer from varying degrees of PTSD.

Will they be disarmed also?  You forget, of our men and women in combat, nearly 40% of them carry an active diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress with most under current treatment though both armed and in combat as we go to press.

There are critical issues that can’t be ignored.  There very well could be new legislation aimed at veterans.

There just isn’t.

However, there is a differentiation between the handling of issues of mental competence or “mental defect” between those under medical care through the VA and those who are not.  Please note:

Anyone who is not being treated, totally voluntarily, by the VA is NOT subject to VA diagnosis.

Also note:

No one who isn’t ruled “a danger to him or herself or other” and found “incompetent” to handle his or her own affairs is not “mentally incompetent.”  The real letter, featured above, explains the long standing process.

The facts are below, carefully footnoted.  Please send this article to every veteran.  This is how things are currently.  This is not to say things can’t change and that what was written about, with pure malice toward American veterans, couldn’t come true.

Please note those websites that carried the false story or those who forwarded the email.  Take them off your Christmas/Chanukah card list.  Now…just the facts:

 On June 26, 2008, in full committee markup, Senator Burr successfully amended the Veterans’ Medical Personnel Recruitment and Retention Act of 2008 (S. 2969) with language that would have provided that “a veteran, surviving spouse, or child who is mentally incapacitated, deemed mentally incompetent, or experiencing an extended loss of consciousness shall not be considered adjudicated as a mental defective” for purposes of the Gun Control Act, “without the order or finding of a judge, magistrate, or other judicial authority of competent jurisdiction that such veteran, surviving spouse, or child is a danger to him or herself or others.” Senator Burr introduced a bill, the Veterans 2nd Amendment Protection Act (S. 3167), that would have achieved the same ends as his amendment to S. 2969.

In the 111th Congress, Senator Burr reintroduced his bill as S. 669, and the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs reported this bill (S.Rept. 111-27) on June 16, 2009. Representative Jerry Moran introduced a similar bill (H.R. 2547).

Mental Defective Adjudications Under 27 CFR §478.11, the term “adjudicated as a mental defective” includes a determination by a court, board, commission, or other lawful authority that a person, as a result of marked subnormal intelligence, or mental illness, incompetency, condition, or disease (1) is a danger to himself or others, or (2) lacks the mental capacity to manage his own affairs. The term also includes (1) a finding of insanity by a court in a criminal case and (2) those persons found incompetent to stand trial or found not guilty by reason of lack of mental responsibility pursuant to articles 50a and 72b of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, 10 U.S.C. §§850a, 876(b).

This definition of “mental defective” was promulgated by the ATF in a final rule published on June 27, 1997.50 In the final rule, the ATF noted that the VA had commented on the “proposed rulemaking” and had correctly interpreted that “adjudicated as a mental defective” includes a person who is found to be “mentally incompetent” by the Veterans Benefit Administration (VBA). Under veterans law, an individual is considered “mentally incompetent” if he or she lacks the mental capacity to contract or manage his or her own affairs for reasons related to injury or disease (under 38 CFR § 3.353).51 In a proposed rulemaking, the ATF opined that the inclusion of “mentally incompetent” in the definition of “mental defective” was wholly consistent with the legislative history of the 1968 Gun Control Act.52 Reportedly, the VA could have been the only federal agency that had promulgated a definition like “mentally incompetent” that overlapped with the term “mental defective.”53

Veterans, Mental Incompetency, Firearms Eligibility In November 1998, the VBA provided the FBI with disqualifying records on 88,898 VA beneficiaries, whom VA rating specialists had determined to be “mentally incompetent” based on medical evidence that they were incapable of managing their own affairs.54 Thus, a fiduciary (or designated payee) was appointed for them. During the determination process, beneficiaries were notified that the VA was proposing to rate them “mentally incompetent,” and they were able to submit evidence to the contrary if they wished.55 This determination process is still followed today at the VA.56

The Veterans Medical Administration has not submitted any disqualifying records on VA beneficiaries to the FBI for inclusion in NICS for any medical/psychiatric reason (like PTSD), unless those veterans had been involuntarily committed under a state court order to a VA medical facility because they posed a danger to themselves or others. In those cases, the state in which the court resides would submit the disqualifying record to the FBI, if such a submission would be appropriate and permissible under state law.57

Nevertheless, the decision by the VA to submit VBA records on “mentally incompetent” veterans to the FBI for inclusion in the NICS mental defective file generated some degree of controversy in 1999 and 2000.58 Critics of this policy underscored that veterans routinely consented to mentally incompetent determinations so that a fiduciary (designated payee) could be appointed for them. Those critics contended that to take away a veteran’s Second Amendment rights without his foreknowledge was improper. They also pointed out that no other federal agencies were providing similar disqualifying records to the FBI. This controversy subsided, but it reemerged when Congress considered the NICS improvement amendments (described above). Also, as of April 30, 2008, VA records made up about one-fifth (or 21.0%) of all the 552,800 federal and state records in the NICS mental defective file.


50 Federal Register, vol. 62, no. 124, June 27, 1997, p. 34634.

51 Federal Register, vol. 61, no. 174, September 6, 1996, p. 47095.

52 Ibid.

53 Personal communication with Compensation and Pension Program staff, Department of Veterans Affairs, July 9, 2008.

54 Ibid.

55 Ibid.

56 Ibid.

57 For further information on the treatment of mental illness and substance abuse for the purposes of gun control, see Donna M. Norris, M.D., et al., “Firearm Laws, Patients, and the Roles of Psychiatrists,” American Journal of Psychiatry, August 2006, pp. 1392-1396.

58 John Dougherty, “VA Give FBI Health Secrets: Veterans’ Records Could Block Firearms Purchases,” WorldNet, June 22, 2000; and “VA Defends Vets’ Records Transfers to NICS System,” New Gun Week, vol. 35, issue 1650, July 10, 2000, p. 1.

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16 Responses to "Veterans Gun Seizure Hoax Debunked…Somewhat (updated)"

  1. benweihrich  February 26, 2013 at 11:31 pm

    Gorden ,here a real mess: Vietnam Vet Barred From Owning a Gun Because of a Teenage Misdemeanor 45 Years Ago

  2. benweihrich  February 26, 2013 at 11:21 pm

    Gorden: No, the VA isn’t arbitrarily disarming veterans

    But the alarm over the VA letter seems to be unwarranted. In a post entitled, “Don’t beleive the hype on the VA letter summarily denying vets gun rights,” conservative blogger Bob Owens (who supports Second Amendment rights) debunks the rumors:

    I have no idea who Michael Connelly is, but I can tell you this: his story is misleading at best, and purposeful fear-mongering at worst.

    Connelly lays this out in such a way that the average person reading this gets the impression that the VA is arbitrarily sending letters to unsuspecting veterans that they’ve lost their 2nd Amendment rights because someone in far away Washington summarily checked a box on a whim. It is portrayed as a bolt from the blue, affecting a large percentage of veterans.

    This [provision doesn’t apply] to someone just because they went into combat, or if they have some level of PTSD, or if they have a head injury. This generally applies to folks that are seriously mentally compromised.

    Milblogger John Lilyea has a similar take:

    The letter, despite the breathless reporting by this lawyer dude at the [Red Flag News] blog, explains to the veteran to whom the letter is addressed how to avoid being ruled incompetent.

    By the way, I looked up the cite from 18 USC 942(a)(2) which merely refers to 18 USC 922(a)(6) which, in turn says you can’t lie when you buy a gun – so all of that legal crap doesn’t say anything we don’t know and it has nothing to do with being a mentally incapacitated veteran.

    But, basically, what the letter doesn’t say is that the VA is disarming veterans arbitrarily. Don’t let this letter be

  3. FactversusHype  February 26, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    For veterans needing care, see an naturopath who can advise/prescribe natural supplements to deal with anxiety and other problems, rather than going to the phony psych/pharma industry. Take care of your health and diet, if you don’t have many friends or family join a hobby group so you can connect and bond with others for mental well being and strength.

    • FactversusHype  February 26, 2013 at 12:25 pm

      … hobby groups, athletic groups, hiking groups, many ways to make new friends and connections, just step out and do it.

  4. FactversusHype  February 26, 2013 at 12:14 pm

    The gun grab jostling is reality, but that is only one area of the orchestrated chaos. The game is to hit citizens from all sides, to divert attention from the chemtrails transhumanism agenda and the ndaa. But, you can tell people this over and over and still they divert their attentions to the circus of the day.

  5. taosword  February 25, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    In the many years I worked as a PTSD speicalist with the VA, there were only a couple times we had to threaten legal action if a Vet with PTSD wouldnt give up his guns. These cases are rare but when they happen they can be serious and we need legal means as a last resort to get the guns. This kind of PTSD includes paranoia because the combat vet has flashbacks which are hallucinations to the war zone. During these he may think his friends or family are the enemy and try and kill them. I have seen it and have helped some friends and family of these vets stay alive by getting the guns and more theapy for the vet. These flashbacks are totally seperate from reality and if you have ever witnessed one it is scary and dangerous. Many times it is precipatated by alcohol or drugs, sometime the drugs given by the VA. When the law changed to give the VA ability to share names with the FBI about a no gun list, many vets with PTSD that don’t have these paranoid hallucinations freaked out that Obama or whoever was in charge was going to take away our guns. Didnt happen. You mess up and mistake your wife for a Vietcong or Terrorist and you don’t need to be havin any guns around. There are alot of protections for us regarding this and VA mental health folks are very careful with this in the Veterans favor. I can’t speak to the FBI or other Law Enforcement Agencies since I don’t trust them anyway since 9/11.

    • Gordon Duff  February 25, 2013 at 6:29 pm

      In this kind of issue, it is my job to protect vets and get the best information I can.

      You have helped.


  6. Mike Kay  February 25, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    Mr. Duff,
    I do wonder, sir, if this is merely a symptom of a wider disease?
    First of all, hollywood movies aside, no one goes into combat and remains untouched, unscathed, unchanged by this experience.
    After Virginia Tech, the big issue, if I recall correctly, was not PTSD, but the issue of WHO determines mental incompetence, and the lack of a realistic appeals procedure for those wrongly so classified. Thus the usual story that the disadvantaged, the less than well heeled, or the targeted have no means of contesting this judgement.
    As such, no need for new laws, simply tighten the noose with what is on the books. Actually I have observed this phenomenon so often, in so many different ways, that I just assume everyone realizes this is standard operating procedure.
    Your point is well taken, however, that when killing for the government, no background check will ever apply.

  7. Johng  February 25, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    Also, the 17,000 WW1 Veterans brought 25,000 family members with them. BTW the 2 officers leading the brigades against the helpless veterans and their familes were none other than Patton and Mac Arthur. What a truly disgraceful day in American History.

  8. Johng  February 25, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    If any of you out there think that the US Government is on the Veterans side read what happened to the WW1 Veterans when they set up camp and protested in Washington for the the “cash bonus” they were promised after the war. The polce oened fire on them but could not contain them. Then, they brought in the US Army with their gas, tanks and bullets to subdue them. Veterans were killed and injured by their own army.

  9. Johng  February 25, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    Shachalnur, that problem is already being addressed by Homeland Security. A Para- Military FEMA Police Force with 1.5 billion rounds of hollowpoint ammunition is being assembled as we speak. Read up on Bolshevik History, it could soon be coming to a theater near you.

  10. Allesandro  February 25, 2013 at 1:22 pm

    We need the Veterans, we need to thank them for their sacrifices, and treat them as the valuable resources they still are, and valuable to the defense of our nation at home, now more than ever. Their knowledge, training, tactics and weapons, form a secure force at home, one that we could not find elsewhere. And they are trustworthy, not easily found elsewhere.

  11. shachalnur  February 25, 2013 at 11:42 am

    The only thing from stopping the NWO taking full control of the US are Vet’s.
    Veterans were made ill with vaccines and DU for a reason.
    Vet’s suicides are sky high.
    As long as Vet’s in the US are heavily armed ,the US have a chance to take their country back.
    Any laws ,op-ed’s or threats to take their weapons have to be taken seriously.
    US vet’s are the last line of defense against the ones that want to enslave us all.

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