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Blog posts : "2nd amendment"

UPDATE ON VETERANS’ GUN RIGHTS ISSUE

April 2, 2013

Our investigation into the plight of our military veterans and the assault on their Second and Fifth Amendment rights continues to uncover a disturbing pattern that confirms that the VA is violating the Constitutional rights of America’s heroes on a daily basis. The investigation included two separate requests to the VA under the federal Freedom of Information Act. We asked for the criteria used for appointing a fiduciary for veterans to handle their financial affairs and for information on the criteria for adding such veterans to the list of Americans ineligible to buy firearms. The legal deadline for a response from the VA has passed and our requests have been totally ignored. This does not surprise me because it is obvious that the VA has much to hide.

         Between the information we are receiving from veterans around the country and our research of the law and history of the VA fiduciary program we have come up with a timeline of what has happened and is happening to our veterans. While the VA fiduciary program has been in place for years it was designed to appoint someone, usually a family member, to handle the VA payments for veterans who were unable to handle these financial matters themselves because of some type of severe mental problems such as dementia.

          There have been problems with the system from the beginning, but the problems regarding the Second amendment rights of veterans are much more recent. In 1993 Congress passed the Brady Bill that mandated a national background check system that was designed to keep convicted felons and those individuals declared mentally defective and found to be a danger to themselves or others from being able to legally purchase firearms.

          In 2007 the Congress passed some ill advised amendments to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The amendments were in response to the Virginia Tech shooting, (which did not involve a veteran) and were designed to make sure that people adjudicated to be “mentally defective” were on the list. However, the disqualification criteria remained the same, a person had to be found to be a danger to themselves or others or “lacks the mental capacity to contract or manage his own affairs.”

          Since that amendment was adopted the VA has decided that all veterans that it declares “incompetent” to handle their VA payments are also ineligible to purchase or own firearms.  There is absolutely nothing in the NICS criteria that states that those with physical disabilities belong on the list of individuals prohibited from owning firearms, yet the VA specifically states in their letter to veterans that this is part of their criteria. In addition, our investigation has found that the VA is using reasons such as minor depression, minor PTSD, and even minor short term memory loss as grounds for declaring veterans “mentally defective.”  In some cases, the veterans are not even given a reason.

          It has also become clear that there has been a rapid acceleration over the last few years in the efforts by the VA to declare veterans incompetent and deny them the right to possess firearms. Veterans who go to the VA for routine checkups or for treatment of physical illnesses are routinely asked if they own firearms. In fact, this in apparently a required question that all VA employees must ask of all veterans.

          In other words, virtually anything can trigger an attempt by the VA to declare a veteran incompetent and deny them their Second Amendment rights. The Constitutional requirements of due process are completely ignored and veterans must fight this on their own at their own expense. To make matters even worse, we are receiving reports from veterans that if they even attempt to resist the declaration of incompetence, the VA is threatening to, and in some cases actually withholding the monetary payments to the veterans unless they agree to the VA declaration.

          Our research has determined that there are at least four separate categories of veterans that the United States Justice Foundation needs to represent in either administrative actions or in court. They are:

1. Veterans who have received a letter from the VA threatening to declare them incompetent, but no decision on competence have been finalized.

2. Veterans who have received the letter and been declared incompetent and added to NICS list for unjust reasons.

3. Veterans who have been declared incompetent and had it reversed, but are still on the NICS list.

4. Veterans who have received the VA letter and are having their VA funds withheld because they are fighting to keep from being declared incompetent.

      The situation with the veterans and their rights has not gone completely unnoticed in Congress. Last year an amendment was offered in the Senate to the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act to stop the VA from arbitrarily adding veterans to the NICS list. It was opposed by the White House and failed to pass. Just a few weeks ago Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina introduced S 572, the “Veterans Second Amendment Protection Act”. It is a good piece of legislation to protect veterans and all members of Congress should be urged to support it. Unfortunately, so far only 11 Senators have signed on as co-sponsors and none of them are Democrats.

      In the meantime, any veterans with information on this or who need help should contact me immediately at usjf.net.

VETERANS ARE FIGHTING BACK

March 15, 2013

Since I wrote the article titled “Disarming America’s Heroes” I have been inundated with emails and phone calls from veterans and the families of veterans. The horror stories I am hearing are proof that the VA and the Obama administration have launched an all out assault on the Constitutional rights of our nation’s wounded warriors and other veterans.

          Veterans are being declared incompetent not because they have a serious mental illness that makes them a danger to themselves or others, but because they have a physical disability resulting from their service in the armed forces or because they simply let their spouses pay the family bills.

          If veterans have minor issues with PTSD, have expressed that they are depressed sometimes, or even in the case of Vietnam veterans admit that they are getting older and sometimes forget to pay their bills on time, the bureaucrats at the VA will seek to declare them incompetent. (I am a 65 year old veteran and often forget where I put my car keys, does that make me incompetent to handle my own financial affairs and even worse mean that I can’t own a firearm?) According to the VA it apparently does.

          All of this has resulted in America’s heroes being declared incompetent by a process that blatantly violates their rights to due process under the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution. Then, for reasons that have not been explained these same veterans are also being denied their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

          Many of the veterans I have heard from were initially both scared because of what was happening to them, and hurt because it is their own government that is causing this fear. After all, when they joined the military they signed a blank check to their country to defend it and its Constitution even if it cost them their lives. Yet, now their own government is turning on them and taking from them the very Constitutional rights they fought to preserve.

          However, now something else is happening; the fear and betrayal that these veterans felt is turning to anger. Their training and instincts as warriors is coming forth and they are once again prepared to fight for their rights and the rights of other Americans. I think that the Obama administration has picked a fight with the wrong dog. Veterans are fighting back.

As Executive Director of the United States Justice Foundation (www.usjf.net) I am committed to helping these veterans and protecting their Constitutional rights. We are putting together a top notch legal team that is already exploring several potential avenues including administrative procedures and a class action lawsuit.

          It will be a huge undertaking since we have veterans who have just received the letter telling them that the VA is considering declaring them incompetent, veterans who have already been declared incompetent and lost their Second Amendment Rights, and even veterans who have gotten the incompetence ruling reversed, but are still blacklisted when it comes to buying firearms. There will be no charge to any veterans or their families that we represent. We will raise the money to finance our efforts from private sources.

          There are those detractors who claim that the letter from the VA is not real even though several reporters have contacted me and said they have talked to representatives of the VA and it is confirmed that it is sending out these letters. The VA apparently downplays this by saying it is not a big deal. I suggest that to the veterans who are losing their rights it is a very big deal and we intend to join them in the fight.

          If you are a veteran or have a friend or family member who is a veteran and has received one of these letters or already been declared incompetent, please contact me and the USJF. We intend to come out swinging. Our veterans deserve nothing less.

DISARMING AMERICA’S HEROES

February 20, 2013

How would you feel if you received a letter from the U.S. Government informing you that because of a physical or mental condition that the government says you have it is proposing to rule that you are incompetent to handle your own financial affairs? Suppose that letter also stated that the government is going to appoint a stranger to handle your affairs for you at your expense? That would certainly be scary enough but it gets worse.

          What if that letter also stated: “A determination of incompetency will prohibit you from purchasing, possessing, receiving, or transporting a firearm or ammunition. If you knowingly violate any of these prohibitions, you may be fined, imprisoned, or both pursuant to the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, Pub.L.No. 103-159, as implemented at 18, United States Code 924(a)(2).”?

          That makes is sound like something right from a documentary on a tyrannical dictatorship somewhere in the world. Yet, as I write this I have a copy of such a letter right in front of me. It is being sent by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to hundreds, perhaps thousands, of America’s heroes. In my capacity as Executive Director of the United States Justice Foundation (USJF) I have been contacted by some of these veterans and the stories I am getting are appalling.

          The letter provides no specifics on the reasons for the proposed finding of incompetency; just that is based on a determination by someone in the VA. In every state in the United States no one can be declared incompetent to administer their own affairs without due process of law and that usually requires a judicial hearing with evidence being offered to prove to a judge that the person is indeed incompetent. This is a requirement of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that states that no person shall “…be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law…”.

          Obviously, the Department of Veterans Affairs can’t be bothered by such impediments as the Constitution, particularly since they are clearly pushing to fulfill one of Obama’s main goals, the disarming of the American people. Janet Napolitano has already warned law enforcement that some of the most dangerous among us are America’s heroes, our veterans, and now according to this letter from the VA they can be prohibited from buying or even possessing a firearm because of a physical or mental disability.

          Think about it, the men and women who have laid their lives on the line to defend us and our Constitution are now having their own Constitutional rights denied. There are no clear criteria for the VA to declare a veteran incompetent. It can be the loss of a limb in combat, a head injury, a diagnosis of PTSD, or even a soldier just telling someone at the VA that he or she is depressed over the loss of a buddy in combat. In none of these situations has the person been found to be a danger to themselves or others. If that was the case than all of the Americans who have suffered from PTSD following the loss of a loved one or from being in a car accident would also have to be disqualified from owning firearms. It would also mean that everyone who has ever been depressed for any reason should be disarmed. In fact, many of the veterans being deprived of their rights have no idea why it is happening.

The answer seems to be it is simply because they are veterans. At the USJF we intend to find the truth by filing a Freedom of Information Act request to the Department of Veterans Affairs to force them to disclose the criteria they are using to place veterans on the background check list that keeps them from exercising their Second Amendment rights. Then we will take whatever legal steps are necessary to protect our American warriors.

          The reality is that Obama will not get all of the gun control measures he wants through Congress, and they wouldn’t be enough for him anyway. He wants a totally disarmed America so there will be no resistance to his plans to rob us of our nation. That means we have to ask who will be next. If you are receiving a Social Security check will you get one of these letters? Will the government declare that you are incompetent because of your age and therefore banned from firearm ownership. It certainly fits in with the philosophy and plans of the Obama administration. It is also certain that our military veterans don’t deserve this and neither do any other Americans.

I have had techincal difficulties posting a copy of one of these letters on this site. I have someone working on it. In the meantime, I have sent a copy to www.redflagnews.com and it has been posted there with my article.

 

 

 

 

STANDING OUR GROUND

January 6, 2013

It’s time for a reality check. The election is over and according to the results the majority of the people residing in this country voted to abolish our Republican form of government and trash the Constitution. They voted for virtually unlimited government, redistribution of wealth through higher taxes, limits on individual liberties, and out of control spending and debt. They voted to end the free market economic system, and place an unmanageable burden on their own children and grandchildren so they can collect their free stuff now.

          The leftists in this country now feel that they are in a position to do what they have wanted to do for decades; impose their elitist views on the population and take control of how we live, what we do, what we think, and what God we can worship. They are confident that they can succeed in destroying our country and our way of life for good because they have a President in the White house that is committed to establishing himself as a dictator. They also control the schools, the universities, the mainstream media, many of the courts, the United States Senate, and most of the largest cities in the country.

          The left believes that this is their moment in history when they impose their will on the American people, the time when we all submit to their will and become compliant subjects who will acknowledge their intellectual superiority and march in lockstep to the beat of their corrupt drummers. They truly believe this and yet they are very frightened. They are frightened of a document called the Constitution; most specifically of the Bill of Rights and the 2nd Amendment.

          The elitists like Barack Obama, Harry Reid, Diane Feinstein, Nancy Pelosi, and their lackeys in academia, the news media, and Hollywood are cowards. They are willing to lie, cheat, and steal to get what they want, but they are not willing to pick up a weapon and fight for what they profess to believe, they will rely on others to do that.

          Yet, they know that in order to be successful they must take an important step and disarm the American people. They must abolish the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution and they must do it now. The effort has already begun and it is an all out assault. Bills are being introduced in the House and Senate to ban so called assault weapons, certain magazines, various types of ammunition, and certain handguns. This is all supposed to be an effort to protect our children from another Sandy Hook tragedy.

          That is where the reality check comes in. The left has always been willing to exploit tragedy to get its way. All of this proposed legislation is just window dressing to lay the ground work for the ultimate goal of outlawing the private ownership of all firearms in the United States. Once that is accomplished, the government will move to confiscate all of those in private hands.

          That is why the Obama administration is purchasing millions of rounds of ammunition for federal bureaucracies, and FEMA and DHS are training thousands of people to engage in urban warfare. Not urban warfare against foreign or domestic terrorists, but against American citizens who attempt to exercise the 2nd Amendment rights that have been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. In fact, the left is already calling for the people who believe in gun rights to be declared terrorists and arrested not only for supporting the 2nd Amendment, but also for exercising our 1st Amendment rights.

          This is not an obscure conspiracy theory, but is happening now. It is for real. I have people telling me that it will never happen, because these bills will not pass Congress. I agree that with an all out effort we can defeat the legislation in the House of Representatives, but Obama and the left plan to simply bypass Congress and impose gun control by Executive order and by signing the UN Small Arms treaty.

          Therefore, our most critical battles may be in the Courts. For over 38 years I have defended the 2nd Amendment of the Constitution both in and out of the courtrooms. As the new Executive Director of the United States Justice Foundation (USJF) I will make sure that the foundation is in the forefront of the fight.

          This is not just a battle that we must win; this is the war that will decide the fate of our nation. We cannot compromise and we cannot surrender. The 2nd Amendment was placed in the Constitution to ensure that the American people would be able to defend themselves against any future government that sought to become a tyranny. That is what is happening now and we must not give up our weapons.

          A friend and fellow veteran just forwarded a quote by the great Russian writer and patriot Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn who said this about the lack of resistance to the communist takeover of his country:

"And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else at hand?...

The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin's thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If......if......We didn't love freedom enough. And even more----we had no awareness of the real situation.......We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward."

          Enough said. Fight back now!

ABOUT OUR CONSTITUTION

November 29, 2011

            Some people seem to be forgetting that it is “our Constitution.” It belongs to the American people. It is not the property of the President, the Congress, or even the Federal courts. It is not theirs to tinker with, rewrite, or ignore depending on their personal whims and ideologies. It was carefully crafted by the founding fathers to provide a form of government that was limited, not all powerful.

            The Bill of Rights does not contain a list of rights that are given to the American people by the government. Instead it provides a list of the rights that are inherently ours, and they can’t be taken away by the government. For example, despite their claims to the contrary, freedom of speech and freedom of the press don’t just belong to those that agree with a certain political ideology. In addition, the Constitution and Bill of Rights were not designed for only the people who consider themselves elite and better than the rest of us. In fact, it was designed to protect us from them.

            However, despite these truths that have been the foundation of our Republic for over 200 years, every article, section, and amendment of one of our most precious documents is under constant and unrelenting attack by the current administration. The balance of powers between the three branches of government is being ignored in favor of a de facto dictatorship by those who consider themselves above the rest of us. They think they are ordained to tell us how to live our lives and to decide what is best for us.

            Yet, sadly, even as we face the imminent prospect of losing our freedoms and the way of life that so many brave Americans have fought and died for, there are many citizens of this country who seem oblivious to this fact. This is because they have either never read the Constitution in its entirety or don’t really understand what it means. This is probably not really their fault because for years the importance of the Constitution has been downplayed or ignored in many of our schools, especially in our so-called institutions of “higher education.”

            The bottom line is that if Americans are unfamiliar with the Constitution and the way our government is designed to work, how will they know that it and the rights it protects are being taken from them? That is why I have done something new. I have prepared a pocket sized booklet on the Constitution that doesn’t just contain the wording of the document, but after each section and amendment contains my comments on what each means.

            Here is an excerpt from the booklet about the 2nd Amendment:

 

“Amendment II

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

 

Comments: The Second Amendment to the Constitution has been the subject of much controversy over the years. Many individuals in the United States own firearms, either for protection, or for hunting, or for both. There are other individuals who feel that only the police and members of the military should be allowed to carry firearms, and that individual citizens should have restrictions put on their gun ownership rights. These “gun-control” proponents have long argued that the Second Amendment does not provide an individual right of gun ownership, but, only, a collective right belonging to state militias or to the National Guard. In recent years, the United States Supreme Court has ruled that the right to keep and bear arms is, in fact, an individual right, and it cannot be restricted unduly by either the federal government or by state and local governments.”

            Many people who have read the booklet have told me that they have learned things about the Constitution that they had never realized before. The booklet is being offered through my non- profit corporation, the Constitutional Law Alliance (CLA). The website is www.constitution.jigsy.com and single copies can be ordered through the site for $6.00 each including postage. There are also substantial discounts available for multiple copies and these are explained on the website.

            I encourage everyone to get at least one copy to carry with you. That way when you hear someone making an incorrect comment about the Constitution or our freedoms you can have the document there to show them. However, I also hope you will let others know about the booklet and order additional copies to distribute. You can also make donations to the CLA to help us supply this booklet to youth groups and schools at reduced prices.

            I believe that this booklet will raise the consciousness of Americans when it comes to understanding how important our Constitution is and how it must be defended.

Defending the Second Amendment

June 16, 2011

           Throughout history, when nations have started to move from those that are free to those ruled by a tyrannical form of government one of the first priorities of the would-be tyrants is to disarm the indigenous population. There are two main purposes for this. First, if the population is un…

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A FRIGHTENING FUTURE

October 1, 2010

           With the 2010 midterm election almost on us it is important that we reflect on what is really at stake. If the so-called Progressives remain in control of Congress, Obama will be able to continue with his socialist agenda to “fundamentally change America.” By 2012 our country and our free…

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DUTY, HONOR, AND WHAT?

June 1, 2010

The motto of the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York is “Duty, Honor, Country” and it has been important to all the members of that august military school who have graduated from it and served our nation though the wars they have fought for many years. Yet, according to the curren…

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The Fight is Just Beginning

January 27, 2010

          The battle has been joined and it has started again in its original point of origin, the great State of Massachusetts. Another shot has been fired that has been heard around the World, but this time it was not a musket shot at Lexington, Massachusetts, but it came from the ballot boxes in …

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