This letter from the VA revoking Second Amendment rights based on a PTSD diagnosis was sent to me by a reader and appears to be legitimate. I don’t recall ever seeing this type of revocation being challenged in the courts. As the decision is a bureaucratic one, not one made via due process through the courts, a challenge other than the appeal process they describe might hold promise . . .

The point here is that the VA shouldn’t have the power to unilaterally make this decision without judicial oversight. The existence of an appeals process is not, in my opinion, sufficient due process. I don’t know how the letter was delivered. Was it properly served as a legal document? Lawyers, please feel free to enlighten us.

©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Gun Watch

63 Responses to Can the Veterans Administration Revoke Your Second Amendment Rights?

  1. This is one of the big reasons why my air if my brothers and sisters from the current wars are not seeking treatment for PTSD. They will not be lumped into the same firearm prohibited category as rapists and murderers. To do so is freak’n wrong

    • Where did you get that number, 110K? If it’s accurate, it’s very surprising that not one of those 110,000 individuals has challenged this in court.

      • During Joe Manchins attempt to sell his bill in congress it came to light that 110,000 vets had lost their 2A rights. (some sources place that number as high as 150,000) Previous to his attempt at back door gun-control, most of those veterans never received any notice that their 2A rights were affected..until such time as they might have tried to buy a firearm. At that time their only recourse was through the courts..at an average cost of $33,000. A total of EIGHT veterans chose to fight it in court. Manchins solution? A: you had to be notified in writing as you see in this letter. and B: His bill would allow you to appeal your case..to the same bastards who took your rights in the first place. Please keep in mind that at least some of the doctors who are in a position to cancel American citizens rights..may not even BE American citizens. Federal law has said in the past that felons and those “adjudicated” to be mentally unfit may not buy or possess a firearm..Adjudicated means in front of a judge..With your attorney present…It does NOT say that government hirelings can remove your rights simply on their say so. The WVCDL made Joe a promise..That every time he showed his face in WV we would be there. To the point that he doesnt announce his “town hall” meetings except to his hard core supporters.

    • It is not intended help any veteran. The VA generally exists to see how far they can deny benefits to veterans, including allowing them to die while awaiting treatment. The VA is now like every other government agency, in that it has been politicized to serve the socialist/progressive agenda of the Feckless One. And one of his high priorities is disarming veterans, who tend to take seriously their oath to “protect and defend the Constitution of the United States”.

      • I was told by a fellow veteran who worked as a low level administrator at his local VA, that the general rule of thumb for the VA process was to deny most initial claims and only look into the case seriously if or when the applicant files an appeal. I can’t personally vouch for that, but he told me this in 2010.

        • As a veteran, the only thing I plan to ask the VA to provide me is a military tombstone.

          I bet it will end up being plastic.

      • I would just have to tell them and any Judge this is unconstitutional and I don’t recognize any law that is unconstitutional. End of story, kiss my ass

  2. As far as I know any decision by an administrative agency like VA is subject to review in the courts. But you have to run through the whole administrative process first.

  3. It is my understanding that this has been done already to Vets.. take away firearms.. was a few different news reports of Vets. losing gun ownership .. but not sure if it was because of the VA.. and the vets had no crime records or family problems… and Yes Vets will not seek care…so much for service to your country………..but yes they do ask about firearms owner ship to…

  4. Well nobody in this country has the backbone or moral fortitude to actually fight back or do anything about things like this so what do you think is going to happen?

    The definition of government is FORCE.

  5. Effing pathetic. Here, take this rifle and go “neutralize” Arabs so we can get oil, but when you get home, you can’t have a gun to defend yourself. Infuriating.

  6. I have little doubt that the VA, as it has been doing for some time, is trying to force soldiers with PTSD out of the VA system–they are just too expensive to treat. The stories of physically injured soldiers being denied because of “pre-existing conditions” or other bogus calls by the psychiatric division are legend.

    That said, I do not believe that this letter has the power to strip a citizen of gun rights under the applicable federal law. I have not read the statute in some time, but as I recall, disqualification occurs if (1) a person is involuntarily committed to a psychiatric facility (but not for voluntary admittees), and (2) there is an actual adjudication of mental illness and that the person is a danger to himself or others. Nothing in this letter reflects that there has been any due process accorded, and therefore there has been no valid judicial determination of mental illness–but what the VA is hoping, I would guess, is that the veteran appeals the order, at which point the judicial determination at the administrative hearing will have the desired effect.

    • If I remember correctly this letter comes when you’re so whacked that you can’t run your checkbook and the VA has to do it for you. Which means it will crumple up like tissue paper in court.

  7. Sounds fishy to me. If I recall correctly nowhere in the Brady act does it mention ammunition. There would also be the question of whether the VA qualifies as a “lawful authority” to consider you a danger to yourself or others, or incompetent to manage your own affairs.

    • It is not an adjudicative tribunal, so no, I don’t think it does. Moreover, it is rendering a legal opinion as to its view of the Brady law, which is not a binding judicial determination. finally, there are tree kinds of conservators, conservators of the person, conservators of the estate, and conservators of the person and of the estate. Simply because you are not competent to handle you financial affairs is no reason to also conclude that you are a danger to yourself or others. There are plenty of old people whjo are not capable of handling their financial affairs, and are easily “persuaded” to give away large sums of money. But they are fully capable of taking care of their daily need, are not a danger to themselves, and should not be prohibited from owning weapons if they so choose.

      • And this is why I’ve advised my Marines to not trust the siren song of endless PTSD benefits. Once the government has papers questioning your mental control, it will haunt you forever.

      • Mark, that letter also mentioned specifically “chronic pain”.

        As that is usually treated with the schedule-type addictive narcotics, could that be their justification?

        On the 4473 –

        e. Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to,
        marijuana or
        any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?

        • As to the “addicted” to narcotics, etc question.

          The key word is “addicted.”

          Most chronic pain patients whom take lots of narcotics are not addicted; they are dependent.

          Addiction is a craving for a particular drug, a psychological need which translates into drug-seeking behavior, buying on the street, stealing for money or meds, and more.

          Dependence is a physical reaction in the body where if the drug supply is interrupted predictable affects occur, e.g.: sweating, nausea, headaches, sudden pain in various places, hot flashes, chills, and worse.

          People who take prescription narcotics all the time – for chronic pain, cancer, and other issues – always become dependent. That is how bodies function. But very, very few become addicted, in part because long-term narcotic use under the supervision of a physician specializing in pain management, pretty much the only doctors these days who will prescribe adequate medicines for people with medium to severe pain, includes a “narcotics agreement” with many rules, among them that anyone showing signs of addiction loses the right to receive prescriptions. Many pain docs require a psychological opinion from a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist that the patient is not addicted.

          My point is that the rule asks if one is addicted. For almost all regular prescription narcotic users, the correct answer is NO.

          One final comment. People who take rare doses of serious narcotics – for example Percocet after dental surgery – get high and woozy from just a 5mg dose every 4-6 hours. People on high doses of narcotics to handle pain may take 15-45mg of oxycodone, plus another 4-12mg of hydromorphone, as often as every 3-4 hours quite literally around the clock, every day, for years and years on end.

          These people do NOT experience any, repeat, not ANY sensation of being high from high-dose narcotics. Why? Because their bodies are fully dependent on the meds, to include being able to function ongoingly in a normal, routine manner. At worst they may be drowsy from time to time shortly after a dose. Like anyone who is drowsy they might nap briefly, or lean back and close their eyes. Hundreds of thousands of long-term narcotic patients make it clear that through the use of these pain-relieving medications they are able to carry out normal, everyday lives, just as do patients on daily medications for diabetes, heart or blood pressure issues, HIV, and hundreds of other issues.

          Dependence does NOT equal addiction, and long-term high-dosage narcotics use is something almost all bodies are able to handle without any deficit or impairment of judgement.

          Signed,
          Sam
          Pain Management physician
          Chicago

  8. I believe they just want to take guns away from ANYONE who is trained to handle them, UNLESS they are still working for the US Government.

    Even civilian police officers in some places are not allowed to carry off duty, and definitely don’t carry selective fire rifles (not that I’m aware of). Shucks! the CHP (California Highway Patrol) just carry a S&W 40 cal,pistol, a 12 Guage shotgun (mainly Remington 870B), and a semi-auto AR15 or M4 Rifle in 5.56 NATO caliber. Nothing Full-Auto or select-fire in CHP units.

    The fear of a Second Revolution run strong on the LEFT side of Government, maybe even on the Right. I do believe the Democrats would have surrendered to England in 1776 if they had the chance!

    If the President declares Martial Law, Veterans are probably the first people who should expect visitors at their homes to “relieve” them of “dangerous” weapons “for their protection”…Like what happened during Hurricane Katrina.

    • The fear of a Second Revolution run strong on the LEFT side of Government, maybe even on the Right.

      Yes, left and right. The more classes of individuals that government can disarm, the better the future bodes for any tyrannical government. Former military would be a prime group to disarm.

    • Let the mothers come. I hope they remember that we were TRAINED TO USE FIREARMS TO THE BEST EFFECT by the “government”. The very same “government” that promised me and all other military retirees our medical/dental/optical and other benefits FOR LIFE. Now we have to pay for them, while illegal aliens get anything they want, and then some.

  9. I hear about removing the stigma from PTSD and other forms of psychological issues all the time, especially from the government. What better way to do this than by relegating vets with PTSD into the same class as felons when it comes to their constitutional rights. This just discourages people from treatment, and is indicative of the generally horrible way vets are treated by the VA. The VA should be run by veterans and employ as many veterans as possible. Instead, it employs people who have no real understanding of combat or military service, and the result is bullshit like the letter above and the various other scandals.

    • In all fairness, a huge percent of PTSD cases are just designed to suck money out of the VA and SSDI. There’s no way to prove a claim is false and it’s easy money for the alleged sufferer and for a huge PTSD industry.

    • To be fair, the Community Organizer in Chief and his supporters want to remove the stigma associated with the legal status of convicted felon, too. They can’t have guns either, but the Kenyan is sure eager to get states to change their laws and allow them to vote.

      Ever read a book called “Three Felonies a Day?” Everybody’s a felon. Everybody’s mentally ill. Everybody can vote, though–so long as the only choices on the ballot are Tweedledum and Tweedledee and nothing can actually change. The headshrinkers get lifetime government sinecures and big fat GS13 paychecks. And this even fixes that pesky Constitution problem, since felons, like foreign visitors, have no rights, only privileges that the Nanny State can bestow or withdraw at whim, for whatever reason seems sufficient at the time.

  10. Is this a fake? Someone get this confirmed before posting it? I mean thus is incendiary at a minimum and I’ve told vets not to claim PTSD.

    • If it is a fake, it is a good one. What concerns me is that the VA might be able to simply transfer the vet’s information to the FBI as a “prohibited person”. That is how it would then show up to anyone looking it up.

      Would it be legal? I do not think so, which is why I asked. Does anyone think the current administration would find ethical problems with the VA sending these names to the FBI to add to the list of prohibited possessors?

  11. This is why several friends I met in the service never went to VA counseling. It’s also why a family member never went either.

  12. No, it is not a fake. When VA determines that you are incapable of handling your funds then it proposes a finding of incompetency and appoints a fiduciary. There is a question on the VA examination that asks if the Veteran is capable of handling their affairs. A no answer will generate this notification letter. It is also a proposal. Not a final determination. So, when the examiner asks if you pay the bills, you say Yes.

    • One of the many examples of VA incompetency is the appointment of strangers to take over the financial and medical affairs of veterans “deemed” to be incompetent. Helpless veterans have been stripped clean of their assets, impoverished, and then abandoned by the very people chosen by the VA to help them. The lesson here is to stay out of the clutches of government at all costs.

    • Did the VA make the determination that you could not handle your own finances and was a fiduciary conservator assigned to you? AFAIK, it’s not just about the PTSD diagnosis. It hinges upon whether the VA determined that you were not financially competent.

  13. Of course it isn’t legal. I base that on two concepts. One is that the VA is not a judge but a part of a government administration. Two, 2A states, quite plainly in fact, “shall not be infringed”.

  14. I don’t think a diagnosis of PTSD alone should be cause for revocation of firearms rights. Last I recall, those with PTSD who had shot up places had refused help for it, but I could be wrong.

    However, this act is legit, per Wikipedia, and says, among other things, that someone can’t own or transport a firearm who “has been adjudicated as a mental defective or committed to a mental institution.” So it’s the law, and we should obey it.

    I can say there’s one person I know who is a total retard (and sociopath) who was served with a “do not arm” order by medical to his commander while we were deployed to Iraq. We had an incident where I almost charged my M-16 because he wasn’t obeying an order to put an M-16 down. That person should, most definitely, never own or use a gun.

    My grandfather, a WW2 veteran from the army, towards the end of his life started guarding his house with a rifle as if he was in hostile territory. Probably the main reason my grandmother didn’t live very long: the stress of him losing his mind. They should’ve taken his guns away, too. They didn’t, so thankfully he didn’t go killing his neighbors. But what if he had?

    I think this should be entirely case by case. I question the legitimacy of the letter, as it’s extremely easy to forge something like this. However, either way, if it’s the law, I say we obey it for now, while campaigning to fix it to be more case by case. But either way, I can understand why, if someone’s diagnosed with a major mental problem, they’re not allowed to own guns by that act. I wouldn’t want crazies shooting at me, either.

    Funny how the pro-gun crowd says that other famous crazy mass shooters should’ve been reported prior to them doing their evil deeds, but then when it’s something like this, people cry as if something evil occurred. I say good riddance. Fix your PTSD, and when the doc says you’re no longer diagnosed as a danger to yourself or others, you can have your guns back. Because if I see such a person, PTSD or not, veteran or not, waving a gun around, I’m not going to think twice about gunning any crazy person with a gun down in self-defense. It won’t matter who you are: all people will see is a crazy person waving a gun, not a veteran, not someone with PTSD.

    I hate this, but I agree with that law.

      • When, oh when, has a veteran diagnosed with PTSD ever been told by the VA that “your PTSD is in complete remission with no detectable symptoms. Now go out and enjoy a normal life.”

        As the Brits would say, “Not bloody likely, mate”.

        Thank God I have health insurance that allows me to stay the h*** away from the VA.

    • The principle flaw in your argument is your assumption that the VA can “adjudicate” anything. The VA is an administrative agency, not a judicial agency, and therefore lacks the power to “adjudicate” anything. It can only make administrative determinations. Yes, their action could be challenged to administrative law judge, but ALJs are actual judges and are not employed by the VA. If it were me, I might recommend to a client filing a “John Doe” complaint for declaratory relief in which the vet was not named to have the federal district court determine the pure legal question of the VA’s actual authority, while at the same time trying to avoid turning it into a forum where the court would decide the vet’s dangerousness to himself or others.

  15. Oh, I almost forgot some things:

    1) The VA doesn’t revoke anyone’s rights, the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act (Bill Clinton, 1993) does.
    2) It also says it bans firearms for those who have “been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions.”

    So yeah people might want to make sure they leave the armed forces the right way, if ya know what I mean.

  16. My contact with the VA has been limited over the years. About 1980 I was told, after I visited a VA hospital that my records had been destroyed in a fire in a VA office, in Missouri I believe. Then sometime after 2005 or so I was notified that my non existent records had been stolen on a laptop that went missing. I’m afraid to go back, they might tell me I died 20 years ago.

    My brother went to the VA and got some meds. One of the pill bottles turned out to be birth control pills. VA knew it’s stuff. He never did get pregneant.

  17. Many of these PTSD cases were adjudicated by an administative law judge. The vets were advised of legal counsel and waived their rights. Unfortunately many don’t understand when they take their disability appeal to the appeal board they are in fact presenting evidence condemming their self in an administrative court. For all intents and purposes for the laws covered by the Brady Act, they have been adjudicated mentally defective.
    With that in mind, I disagree with the way the system is run. The average person has no understanding of what their rights are or the consequences by the actions they’re taking. More importantly the vets that truely need help are bogged down in a system that is catering to the check for the rest of your life crowd. Wish I could say more on the subject.

  18. I know someone who has worked in the VA healthcare system, and typically these cases of fiduciary incompetence involve someone who is blowing their whole check every month on the drug of their choice, either heroin or crack, and therefore is now a homeless drug addict, with or without PTSD. Most likely not the case here, obviously, and has nothing to do with their 2A rights. 4-5K tax free every month will buy a lot of smack.

    • What difference does it make WHAT I spend my VA monies on? That’s NONE of their damn business. Even if I’m wasting my money, it’s MY money. More Dem/Lib intrusion in everyday life.

  19. Dear VA:

    F U.

    Veterans should already be exacting vengeance on VA employees for the treason they’ve committed against them all over the country.

  20. What a bunch of crap.

    I wish the person who got this the best of luck dealing with the VA.

    I had a friend whose benefits were revoked because the VA decided they made a mistake and starting taking his pay to pay them back the benefits they paid. All done with nothing he could do to stop them. He filed every document and bit of proof necessary to show that they were indeed wrong and he was deserving and eligible for the benefits they approved then revoked. All to no avail. Then 2 years later, after involving many lawyers, certified documents, constant back and forth, and the VA just plain ignoring everything he sent them that spoke to the contrary of their ruling, the VA says “lol whoops. We made another mistake you really are eligible for those benefits after all” and wrote him a check to pay him back his own money.

    The VA really seems to be the pinnacle of bureaucracy, incompetence, and corruption.

    • With interest? Ha ha just kidding…

      I’ll never set foot in a VA hospital of any kind, ever. I’ll suffer knowing that I am free, rather that live healthy as a slave to the state, having exchanged my rights for privileges.

      • Yea and he wasn’t even dealing with the medical side of the VA, he was just getting his school money. I completely understand why so many veterans avoid the VA like the plague.

  21. This crap needs to be challenged in court RTFN. Seriously.
    (Although I could understand if the pro 2A legal eagles are waiting to get potential case that will play out well in the court of popular opinion.)

  22. I notice that the diagnosis resulting in the loss of 2A rights included chronic pain. Does that mean the agents of Leviathan can snoop through everybody’s medical records and declare all persons receiving treatment for constant unremitting pain a prohibited person?

  23. Okay- first off, sorry but I just gave up on trying to read all the comments and screw the majority of them- if someone else dissented, my aopogies for not acknowledging you.
    Now, I AM A VET TWICE OVER (yes you can – two wars does it), I AM RETIRED MILITARY and I WORK FOR THE VA… the VA as a whole DOES NOT try and ignore Vets… some VA Staff might- probably do BUT the VA as a whole is running scared as hell right now and bending over backwards on the stupidist things. We’ve been hit no less than 5 times in the National News on major problems in the last 12 months alone..we have problems, yes-…and I can tell you flat out the uproar is giving people who are working to make it better the horespower to do so. Nothing like a scared politician…

    This particular letter came out of Veternas BENEFITS Agency – there are threee parts of ther VA: Veterans Health, Veteran’s Benefits, and the National Cemetary Service. This was a letter from Veterans Benefits- if you ever see a form that says VA form 21-XXXX the first 2 numbers identify a VBA form number. VBA does ALL the determinations about eligibilty for treatment, disabilities percentage and disability pay. They are pencil pushers under the thumb of VA Central Office and so far behind they can’t even see the edges of the rut let alone the hoirizon. Like any Gub’ment Agency much of what they do is largely automatic- fill out a form, send it to them, they enter data, push a button and out pops a letter. a seperate proff- see news articles about the families upset because someone ushed enter and a Vet dead for two years gets letters for appointments “because your well-being as a Veteran of America is very important to us.” I dealt a couple of these, in those cases it appears the familiy kind’a sort’sa forgot to let us know the Vet passed away- gee, who’s at fault there?

    Now FOR THE RECORD the only way this Vet got this letter is either they lost it and scared a VA Doc (seen it myself) and trhe Doc started the paperwok that way OR A FAMILIY MEMBER STARTED THE PROCESS. They just went on-line and filled out some forms, gave their “reason” and here we are. It’s a GOVERNMENT AGENCY folks, fill all the blocks out in the right order and the VA is obligated to start the process by law. Can’t happen any other way I ever heard of. In the- 12 years I’ve worked as a VA Cop (10 years) and the last couple pushing paperwork and sitting at a Welcome Center every time a Vets come to me ‘cuz they knew me or been freaking out about one of these letters when I was a Cop- it has ALWAYS turned out to be one of their kids trying to get a hold of Dad’s money. Same kids who drop Dad off at the VA for “breathing difficulties, or “trouble passing stools.” or whatever a couple days BEFORE a holiday weekend… Don’t believe me, do a FOIA (request at your local VA for admissions the week before any given holiday… funny how our beds fill up around holidays. (yes, you can do this its the governement and what FOIAs for – just takes a letter to the local VA hospital’s Privacy Officer- has to have a reason (block to fill) but reseaching for personal reference will do it) But hey- kids have a breather when they get rid of dad and his pee bag for a few days. On the other side, this IS the first time I’ve seen the gun purchasing and ownership so prominant but given the societal schism and political environment I’m not surprised either.

    Please remember, is was the VA Undersecretary who refused to share (“give”) Vet’s Psych records to NY State when they started they’re cirrent gun crap. Don’t know if he did oit for the right reason or just because it violates Privacy Act rules but he did it.

    Say what you want – those of you who are my fellow Vets I AM SORRY – SINCERELY SORRY you felt you were treated badly by whomever you dealt with in the VA- but please don’t paint us all with the same brush. We have Vets coming from all over the North East- for treatment and both I and my son are two of them. Like anyplace there are good and there are bad… Right now a Vet who wants to complain- rightly or wrongly will get airtime…Warhol’s 15 minutes of fame if nothing else. When right we need to know so we can do better. When wrong – well just thnk how much a VA Staff Vet, hears these over and over and ove- has no porwer to help 1000 miles away the voiceof a FELLOW VET complaining about something that’s just a personal gripe and it hits the national news. It paints the whole VA as bad- think how that makes event the common “it’s just a job” staffers feel…Folks we had a town hall meeting a few days ago so Vets could walk in and say what they wanted…it really was more positive then negative… we have a ways to go and believe it or not we ARE getting better.

    But I have to ask each and every one of you to remember- YOU voted the morons causing this in either by action or inaction…then they put the politacl toadys in and gain, here we are… consider that point if you really want the VA and the government that’s behind it to change.

    I will now step down off the soap box and prepare the towels to wipe away the rotten eggs & over-ripe tomatos and get the bandages for the (hopeflly) occassional stone- let the attacks begin…

    • After reading all these comments about what the VA can do to my rights I am terrified. I know I need help hell Ive texted the crisis line 3 times this last month for accidently hitting my wife in our sleep because of a dream I had. Was giving drugs to help with the dreams so then I filed for a PTSD claim but now when I go to my apt in 4 days I am just going to give them he answers they want to hear. I cant believe the stuff I read should I just continue getting help and don’t file for PTSD. Doctor sent me meds by mail its crazy how that worked..

  24. The problem with stuff like this…the fear of loosing ones civil rights….causes vets to not want to go to the VA to get help…I will never go to the VA…ever…If I have problems I will seek out those I served with….Screw the VA, and their back door gun control..I guess the VA is really trying to keep that 22 suicides per day (veterans) up there…cause they do not seem to really care much.

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