Although numerous combat veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan need treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) many are increasingly hesitant to pursue treatment because they fear a prognosis of PTSD will be used to deny their gun rights under the Obama administration.
A combat vet confined to wheelchair recently spoke to Breitbart News anonymously, saying, “I was diagnosed with PTSD. What’s being done to be sure my guns aren’t taken away?” He said he lives with the added anxiety of questioning his every trip to the doctor, fearing that he is one visit away from having his gun rights snuffed out.
To clear, veterans have worried about the state of their gun rights for a number of years now. At first the concern was tied to whether a veteran could manage his or her own money. In July 2015 the Los Angeles Times reported on “a strategy used by the Department of Veterans Affairs” whereby a veteran “declared incompetent to manage pension or disability payments and assigned a fiduciary” is reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Checks System (NICS). Translation: the inability to handle money following the strain of war and possible life and death battles is being used to deny certain veterans the right to buy a gun.
This came into stark relief January 5, when Obama’s executive gun control included a ban on gun ownership for some Social Security beneficiaries. Like the ban being applied to veterans, the the Social Security gun ban is based whether beneficiaries can handle their own finances. And this new ban–plus Obama’s expanded emphasis on using the category of “mental health” to keep guns out of the hands of more and more people–has veterans worried that a trip to the doctor to discuss symptoms of PTSD could result in the loss of gun rights.
The fear is widely discussed among veterans, recently prompting the Military Times to warn that some veterans are on the verge of foregoing treatment they need in order to guard the perpetuity of their gun rights.
On January 6–the day after Obama announced his executive gun controls–Military Times quoted American Legion National Commander Dale Barnett, saying, “The American Legion strongly believes that treatment for PTSD or depression by itself, which a number of wartime veterans experience, should not be the sole factor in denying a veteran the right to purchase a firearm.”
Barring some additional circumstances that would indicate that a veteran represents a dangerous threat, veterans should not have to forfeit their Second Amendment rights. Veterans have fought to protect the constitutional rights of all Americans. The American Legion believes that the rights of these heroes deserve protection.
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.