On August 6, residents and Bonner County Sheriff Daryl Wheeler lined up outside the Priest River, Idaho, home of veteran John Arnold to prevent the Veterans Administration (VA) from taking away his guns.
Arnold received a letter from the VA in which he was allegedly informed that he was no longer fit to own guns. KREM 2 reports “an inspector was to go to Arnold’s home August 6 to complete an inspection and seize the guns.”
Residents and local law enforcement rallied to stop any such seizure.
According to the Associated Press, the VA acknowledged having sent a letter to Arnold but would not discuss details of what they told him, citing privacy issues.
Roughly “100 people” showed up, including Sheriff Wheeler. Those assembled waved an American flag, a Gadsen flag, and sang patriotic songs. Wheeler said: “I took an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution and uphold the laws of Idaho. This seemed appropriate to show my support. I was going to make sure Mr. Arnold’s rights weren’t going to be breached.”
Washington state representative Matthew Shea (R-Spokane Valley) stood outside Arnold’s home as well. Shea said being there was part of a showing “defiance against tyranny.”
The protest against the gun seizure was prompted by state representative Heather Scott (R-Blanchard), who informed fellow residents of the VA’s intentions once she was made aware of the letter. The letter was based on the VA’s assessment that Arnold no longer handles his own finances, which is one of the indicators the VA uses to determine who is or isn’t mentally competent to own guns.
KREM 2 reported that a VA field officer showed up at Arnold’s house Thursday and told the crowd that “the VA inspector would not be coming to Arnold’s house that day. The Veteran Service officer also said Arnold may appeal the paperwork stating he was incompetent to handle his funds.”
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