Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) recently sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, asking why so many veterans are being classified as “mentally defective,” and added to the federal gun ban list.
Fox News contributor Katie Pavlich reported on the letter on TownHall.com. Grassley demanded to know why “99.3% of all names reported to the NICS list’s ‘mental defective’ category were provided by the Veterans Administration (VA) even though reporting requirements apply to all federal agencies.”
In his letter, Grassley wrote (emphasis added by Pavlich):
“The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is effectively a national gun ban list and placement on the list precludes the ownership and possession of firearms. According to the Congressional Research Service, as of June 1, 2012, 99.3% of all names reported to the NICS list’s “mental defective” category were provided by the Veterans Administration (VA) even though reporting requirements apply to all federal agencies. And that percentage remained virtually unchanged as of April 2013. Given the numbers, it is essential to ensure that the process by which the VA reports names to the Department of Justice (DOJ) for placement on the NICS list recognizes and protects the fundamental nature of veterans’ rights under the Second Amendment,” Grassley wrote in the letter. “Specifically, once the VA determines that a veteran requires a fiduciary to administer benefit payments, the VA reports that veteran to the gun ban list, consequently denying his or her right to possess and own firearms. In the past, the VA has attempted to justify its actions by relying on a single federal regulation, 38 C.F.R. § 3.353, which by its plain language grants limited authority to determine incompetence, but only in the context of financial matters: ‘Ratings agencies have sole authority to make official determinations of competency and incompetency for purposes of: insurance and…disbursement of benefits.'”
Pavlich joined Steve Doocy this morning, explaining that the federal government is misusing a regulation in order to keep veterans from owning guns.
“This is effectively a way for them to attack the Second Amendment rights of veterans and it has to be changed,” said Pavlich.
She noted that the regulation is supposed to apply to whether a veteran is competent enough to handle his or her financial matters and says nothing about guns.