Veterans’ Gun Rights: Lawmakers Try to Change Law
KREX News Room
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.- Over the last couple of years, gun sales have been on the rise but these weapons could soon end up in the hands of those deemed as "mentally incompetent."
Currently, veterans who have been declared incompetent to handle their own financial affairs are not allowed to bear arms. But, a group of federal lawmakers wants to stop the VA from submitting such names, so these individuals could have the right to own a gun.
“I think the courts have a pretty good idea on how to handle this,” said Linn Armstrong of the Pro Second Amendment Committee. “If we are looking a veterans because of misfortunes in their lives, divorces or domestic situations, and they are deemed that they can't take over their finances because of those reasons, which has nothing to do with their mental capacity, than the courts should take that into consideration.”
While some say it could be situational, other's like Kimberley Etter believe everyone should be allowed this privilege.
“People who are well armed are a lot safer for society,” said Etter, gun owner. “I think that people are getting guns because they know that they may have to protect themselves one day and I think that's a good thing.”
However, other residents NewsChannel 5 spoke with disagree.
“Everyone has the right to bear arms but if you're mentally incompetent, I think you should not own a gun,” said Katie Topai, Fruita resident.
“If the reason they were deemed incompetent of handling their personal finances is due to a mental illness than of course, they shouldn’t be able to do that.”
VA officials say veterans can appeal any finding that they may be “incompetent” if they have new evidence. If he or she is still deemed ineligible, they can petition the agency to have firearm rights restored.
As of right now, those who have been considered "incompetent" are automatically entered into a criminal background check system and appointed someone to handle their pensions.