Blog posts : "veterans"
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 22, 2013
CONTACT: Michael Connelly, Executive Director,
firstname.lastname@example.org or (214)731-6280
The United States Justice Foundation (USJF) has filed the first of several lawsuits against the Veterans Administration (VA) involving the VA’s violation of Constitutional rights of veterans guaranteed by the Second and Fifth Amendment.
The initial lawsuit is to compel the VA to respond to two requests sent to the agency under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
The information requested included Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) rules, regulations, and criteria for making “determinations of incompetency due to a physical or mental condition of a benefit recipient” and copies of all rules, regulations and criteria used by the VBA to determine that a veteran found incompetent for any reason can be “prohibited from purchasing or possessing a firearm.”
The statutory deadline for the VA to respond has passed so this litigation has become necessary.
Michael Connelly, Executive Director, said, “The USJF has received numerous complaints from military veterans around the country who are being declared incompetent to handle their own financial affairs and then told that they can no longer purchase or own firearms or ammunition. This determination is being made without due process protections for the veterans and the basis for the incompetency ruling is often arbitrary and without a factual or legal basis.”
The suit has been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. The USJF is also filing additional lawsuits on behalf of individual veterans whose Constitutional rights have been forfeited due to the actions of the VA. Connelly said that “the USJF will not charge the veterans or their families any fees or expenses for its representation. As a veteran myself I know that America’s heroes, many of them recovering from wounds do not need the additional pressure of having to pay to defend their rights.”
The USJF is a nonprofit, public interest, legal action organization, dedicated to instruct, inform, litigate, and educate the public on significant legal issues confronting the United States.
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.
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.
An unknown song writer once wrote these words: “A veteran is a man or woman who at one point in their life wrote a blank check payable up to and including their life.” The check was payable to the people of the United States of America and to make sure we were understood we took an oath that said “I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic…”
Now, we have fought our wars against foreign enemies, but we still have that blank check and that oath that we have never given up. I am therefore calling on my comrades in arms and fellow veterans to go into battle again and defend our nation and our Constitution on the political battlefield. There are over 21 million veterans in this countryand this election is another fight that we must win if we are to see our nation survive.
We have a President of the United States who is openly hostile to the Constitution. He has stated that if Congress does not pass the legislation he wants he will do it by issuing executive orders, and he continuously does just that despite the fact that it violates the Constitution. He is destroying the balance of power that is one of the mainstays of our Constitution.
When you combine that with the fact that he has appointed some 45 Czars without the required approval of the Senate, gone to war in Libya without Congressional approval, and signaled that he is planning to sign and implement United Nations treaties without submitting them to the Senate for ratification, it is clear that he is establishing a de facto dictatorship.
I have posted many articles on this blog detailing the Obama administration’s all out assault on individual liberties in this county, particularly those enshrined in the Bill of Rights. Whether you look at freedom of speech and religion, the right to keep and bear arms, the right to due process of law, or any of our other basic rights, the President seems intent on restricting them or abolishing them all together.
In addition, Obama has put us in a position where our nation is no longer respected around the world. He continues to apologize to our enemies and ignore or insult our friends. He still refuses to acknowledge the dangers of radical Islam and Sharia law and is putting the safety of every American at risk. We all know that the murder of 13 soldiers at Fort Hood was not workplace violence, but an act of terrorism, and the murder of our Ambassador and three other brave Americans in Libya on 9/11 was not a spontaneous reaction to a video on You Tube. It’s time that we let the President know that we are not stupid.
As veterans, we must also be aware of what is happening to our military. Obama is cutting the size of our military and stopping the production of the weapons and equipment needed by our personnel to effectively defend us and stay alive while doing so. He is stripping the military of a key component for many of its members, their faith in God. He sees political correctness as more important than giving our men and women in the service the same freedom of religion that they are fighting to defend. Now, we are learning that under Obamacare the President is mandating that our military members, veterans and their families pay much more for their medical care. However, civilian employees of the Department of Defense who happen to be union members will not see any increase in their costs for the same benefits.
As I have watched the progression of the Obama Presidency it has become clear that his agenda is not what I took an oath to protect. I did not take an oath of allegiance to defend socialism, or any other form of dictatorship, and I certainly did not take an oath to take away the Constitutional rights of my fellow Americans. Obama took the same type of oath I did, but he seems to have no problem violating it. I cannot and will not accept that.
So, once again I am calling on my fellow veterans to join me in stepping up to the plate once again, and not only voting to retire Obama on November 6, 2012 and to retire members of the House and Senate who do not support the Constitution, but to get other Veterans to do the same. If we lose this time we may never have another chance.
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