OK

This is only a Preview!

You must Publish this diary to make this visible to the public,
or click 'Edit Diary' to make further changes first.

Posting a Diary Entry

Daily Kos welcomes blog articles from readers, known as diaries. The Intro section to a diary should be about three paragraphs long, and is required. The body section is optional, as is the poll, which can have 1 to 15 choices. Descriptive tags are also required to help others find your diary by subject; please don't use "cute" tags.

When you're ready, scroll down below the tags and click Save & Preview. You can edit your diary after it's published by clicking Edit Diary. Polls cannot be edited once they are published.

If this is your first time creating a Diary since the Ajax upgrade, before you enter any text below, please press Ctrl-F5 and then hold down the Shift Key and press your browser's Reload button to refresh its cache with the new script files.

ATTENTION: READ THE RULES.

  1. One diary daily maximum.
  2. Substantive diaries only. If you don't have at least three solid, original paragraphs, you should probably post a comment in an Open Thread.
  3. No repetitive diaries. Take a moment to ensure your topic hasn't been blogged (you can search for Stories and Diaries that already cover this topic), though fresh original analysis is always welcome.
  4. Use the "Body" textbox if your diary entry is longer than three paragraphs.
  5. Any images in your posts must be hosted by an approved image hosting service (one of: imageshack.us, photobucket.com, flickr.com, smugmug.com, allyoucanupload.com, picturetrail.com, mac.com, webshots.com, editgrid.com).
  6. Copying and pasting entire copyrighted works is prohibited. If you do quote something, keep it brief, always provide a link to the original source, and use the <blockquote> tags to clearly identify the quoted material. Violating this rule is grounds for immediate banning.
  7. Be civil. Do not "call out" other users by name in diary titles. Do not use profanity in diary titles. Don't write diaries whose main purpose is to deliberately inflame.
For the complete list of DailyKos diary guidelines, please click here.

Please begin with an informative title:

.40 caliber semi-automatic pistol
Over the past several years, four unsuccessful attempts have been made to turn the Veterans Second Amendment Protection Act into law. Last week, one of its 21 co-sponsors in the Senate, Republican Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, tried to attach it as amendment to the defense appropriations bill. It momentarily "threatened to become the biggest sticking point" in getting that $631 billion bill passed. It appears Coburn will give up that effort, but seek to add the amendment to some other bill.

At issue is whether a veteran who has been found unable to handle his or her financial affairs should have the right to own a gun. The Department of Veterans Affairs frequently assigns someone else, often a family member, to handle a veteran's finances, including his or her government pension and benefits. This triggers a report to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) that the veteran is "incapacitated." Under the law, any such person, veteran or not, is barred from buying or owning guns. The law also applies to family members living under the same roof.

Coburn, as well as the four Democratic co-sponsors of the amendment—who include Jim Webb of Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana—argue that veterans should not lose their right to own firearms simply because they can't handle their finances. The bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives The House version of the bill, S. 1707, which passed last year, would require that the right to purchase or possess guns could only be taken away if a judicial authority rules a veteran to be dangerous.

That's not how Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York sees things. On the Senate floor last week, he said:

"I love our veterans, I vote for them all the time. They defend us," Schumer said. "If you are a veteran or not and you have been judged to be mentally infirm, you should not have a gun."
The hang-up would seem to be what is meant by "judged." Coburn and his co-sponsors aren't happy with VA bureaucrats making the rulings and want veterans to "at least have their day in court if you are going to take away a fundamental right given under the Constitution."

As would be expected, the National Rifle Association supports anything that means more guns in more hands, so it's behind the amendment. Among the veterans groups that support it is the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. The organization's chief policy officer, Tom Tarantino, told the Associated Press that some veterans afflicted by traumatic brain injury or post-traumatic stress disorder but who pose no threat to others may be unfairly being kept from possessing guns. He says these are combat injuries, and nobody who lost a hand in combat would be barred from gun ownership.

A lousy comparison, as Tarantino surely knows. To be sure, TBI and PTSD affects each individual uniquely, which the VA obviously recognizes. Of the 127,000 veterans whom the VA has placed in the mentally "incapacitated" category since 1998, only 185 have appealed to get their names taken off the NICS registry. That seems to indicate the current approach works just fine as it is. The vast majority of veterans with TBI and PTSD have not been judged incapacitated and those that have are afforded an avenue by which to prove they were misjudged. Given the high rate of suicide among veterans and the potential for other tragedies when guns are close at hand for people who have been ruled unable to handle their own affairs, the law as it now stands ought to be considered a reasonable dose of preventive medicine.

Intro

You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Mon Dec 03, 2012 at 10:45 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.