Don't Automatically Restore Firearms To Veterans At Risk- And Response (2)

Friday, March 17, 2017

In the March 17 article, "Graves Votes To Start Cleaning House At The VA," Rep. Graves vocalizes his support for H.R. 1181, a bill that could automatically restore firearms to tens of thousands of veterans who may pose a danger to themselves. 

H.R. 1181 is the latest item on the National Rifle Association’s legislative checklist. Predictably, Congressman Graves and his colleagues are doing the NRA's bidding and ramming the bill through without due diligence.  The bill was passed by committee without a proper hearing, and the bill's current language is so broad that even its co-sponsor, Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN), cannot adequately explain its mechanisms. 

In its present form, HR 1181 could retroactively remove individuals from the National Instant Background Checks System. Given the high rate of suicide among veterans, retroactively removing individuals from NICS could put veterans in danger. Additionally, in its present form, HR 1181 does not outline a process to determine whether retroactively removed individuals are, in fact, at risk of harming themselves or others.   

Members on both sides of the aisle have acknowledged past flaws in the fiduciary process the Department of Veterans Affairs used to enter veterans into NICS.  But the blanket restoration of guns to our veterans at risk of suicide is not the solution. Rep. Graves should know better.  

Andrew Patrick
Coalition to Stop Gun Violence 

* * * 

Mr. Patrick is right. 

As the Vietnam conflict was winding down, we were stationed in a military town where planeloads of military persons were returning home on a continuous bases. All I can say is, not everyone who goes away to war or conflict is capable of leaving either behind them and turning back into the mild-mannered Clark Kent when they return home. There are domestic violence issues (don't think the term was around during that time), child abuse issues, self-destructive behaviors and other anti-social problems to be considered, alongside the issue of suicide Mr. Patrick mentions.  

Whereas those things committed on the battlefield are often celebrated during war and conflict, society will quickly and without question want to lock them in cages when committed at home and on peaceful soil. Some tend to forget, however, that just as easily as wars and conflicts produce heroes they can just as easily create monsters. And there's no way of telling which is likely to be lurking in the shadows or when or if one might strike.  

Brenda Washington 

* * * 

Arbitrarily restricting the rights of a group of individuals for some perceived problem, a problem with about as much proof as the moon being made of green cheese, is about like restricting the rights of a group of people because of the amount of melanin in their skin isn't it. 

For those who are so appalled at the incidence of veteran suicides, maybe they need to look at the way they're treated. We take young men and women, teach them to kill bad guys and make loud noises, then escort them to the gate and say "Thanks. See ya." Then they have to beg and plead for the services promised them for going off to war so the rest of us can go about out merry little lives. 

It's just my personal opinion, but anyone, anyone, who would advocate restricting the rights and the promised services of our veterans should live under the same conditions veterans have for a while. A few months or years ought to do. 

Look in the mirror and ask yourselves "What have I done today to make this world a better place?" 

Vicki Rodgers
Nine Mile, Tn.

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