President Obama has said time and again that his greatest disappointment was that he was unable to enact new gun control legislation to further restrict the right of American citizens to keep and bear arms. In an effort to do an end run around Congress and enact some of that legislation, the Obama administration enacted some new policies that would make it impossible for some disabled vets to purchase guns and might even lead to their existing firearms being confiscated. That very nightmare scenario — the VA forcibly confiscating the firearms of a disabled veteran — almost happened in Idaho yesterday, but the VA was stopped in its tracks by a grassroots group of local residents. And the sheriff. And some politicians. All of whom stood on the man’s front yard to prevent the confiscation.
A group of residents in northern Idaho lined up outside a U.S. Navy veteran’s house on Thursday to protest claims that federal officials are planning on confiscating the man’s weapons.
Idaho Republican state Rep. Heather Scott of Blanchard said the Veteran Affairs office has sent a letter to John Arnold of Priest River warning him that he cannot possess or purchase firearms.
The protest -spearheaded by Scott- attracted roughly 100 people. Among them were Bonner County Sheriff Daryl Wheeler, who promised to stand guard against any federal attempts to remove Arnold’s guns, and Republican Washington state Rep. Matthew Shea of Spokane Valley, who described the event as a “defiance against tyranny.”
“I took an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution and uphold the laws of Idaho,” Wheeler said. “This seemed appropriate to show my support. I was going to make sure Mr. Arnold’s rights weren’t going to be breached.”
During Thursday’s demonstration, the group at times broke out in song to sing “God Bless America” and pray while waving both the American flag and the “Don’t tread on me” flag. With a population of just 1,700, Priest River is near the tip of northern Idaho- a region known for its strong tea party roots and gun-rights activism.
According to local news sources, the VA had sent the man a letter stating that an inspector was going to come to his house on the 6th to inspect his firearms and confiscate them. The VA confirmed that they sent the man a letter, but they deny that the VA has the power to confiscate guns from anyone. Which is true — the VA has reportedly been working with the FBI as their muscle to perform the actual confiscations. From the article on that particular issue:
A memo from February of 2012 was first obtained by the Daily Caller and titled “MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS AND THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION REGARDING THE NATIONAL INSTANT CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK SYSTEM,” has been causing quite the stir.
This particular memo dictates that the VA must submit veterans health-related information to the FBI by way of encrypted compact disc and mailed quarterly. It states that the records will be used to update the NICS or National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
A separate document revealed that the VA provides a monthly list of veterans who have been rated by the VA as incapable of managing their VA benefits. A simple act of changing ones banking information could get a veteran on this list, as well as refusal to take the VA prescribed pills.
There’s a very dangerous game being played here. Much like with the terrorist watch list, people could be added to these secret no-gun lists at any time (and even by mistake) and then get a lovely knock on their door from the friendly local FBI agent to come violate their constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear arms.
In this case it looks like a paperwork change has caused this chain of events to kick off. Some people are saying that there’s a well known process for milking the VA for a little more change in the monthly disability check that involves declaring yourself unable to manage your own finances. That doesn’t mean the vet in question actually has any mental issues at all — it simply means that he claims he can’t balance his checkbook and needs someone to do it for him. In the eyes of the VA that apparently puts him on the same level of the crazy scale as James Holmes and qualifies for firearms confiscation. The end result is that the disabled vet in question now has to spend his own time money and effort to prove to the VA that he isn’t dangerous before they stop trying to confiscate his firearms. Shouldn’t it be the other way around?
The ongoing stigma against people with a mental disability has made them an easy target in the gun control arena. President Obama and the rest of the gun control cheering squad have been using people with mental issues as a favorite whipping post, blaming everyone with even a slight case of ADD for all the gun related ills of the world. What you see here is the end result: people with mental disabilities having their rights trampled without any due process simply because Obama and Bloomberg think that they are an easy target.