Washington – First reported this morning by The Washington Free Beacon, Wyoming Congresswoman and House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL), the top Republican on the House Veterans Affairs Committee, introduced The Veterans’ Second Amendment Protection Act today. The bill is designed to protect veterans’ ability to purchase and own a firearm. Text of the legislation can be seen here

Rep. Cheney issued the following statement upon introduction of the legislation:

“No one, especially those who risked their lives defending our nation, should have their constitutional rights infringed. The legislation that Ranking Member Bost and I introduced today will ensure that the Second Amendment Rights of law-abiding veterans are not hindered by government red tape, and will prevent unelected bureaucrats from denying veterans of their ability to purchase or own a firearm. Both Rep. Bost and I will fight hard to advance this legislation and bring attention to this important issue.”   

Rep. Bost issued the below statement about the legislation as well: 

“I thank my friend, GOP Conference Chairwoman Cheney, for joining me in introducing this important legislation today. Veterans fought to defend our constitutional rights, including the Second Amendment right to own a firearm. No government bureaucrat should be able to strip them of that right. This is a shameful practice that violates what our country stands for and keeps veterans from the benefits they’ve earned. That is unacceptable and Chairwoman Cheney and I won’t stand for it.”

BACKGROUND

Under VA’s interpretation of current law, if the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) appoints a fiduciary to help a veteran (or beneficiary) manage their VA benefits, then VA is required to send their name to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). As a result, they may be prohibited from legally purchasing or owning a firearm, despite there being no evidence that those who need a fiduciary are more prone to violence than others Moreover, these consequential decisions are made by VA general schedule employees, not a court or similar judicial authority, which singles out only VA beneficiaries. Hundreds of thousands of veterans and their family members have been denied their constitutional right to bear arms because of this practice.

The Veterans 2nd Amendment Protection Act would prohibit VA from sending information on veterans (or beneficiaries) who are assisted by a fiduciary to NICS without a judicial ruling that they are a danger to themselves or others. This would ensure that veterans are afforded the same due process that every other American receives before any action is taken that would deprive them of one of the constitutional rights that they fought to protect.