All Eyes on Congress As Veterans’ Gun Rights Up For Grabs

Delvin McMillian, 27, center, of Birmingham, Ala., gets help shooting at clay pigeons with
AP Photo/Rob Carr

All eyes are on Congress as Veterans Affairs funding is set to expire and proper legislative language is needed to protect veterans’ gun rights going forward.

Veterans’ gun rights have long been in the crosshairs of anti-Second Amendment politicians.

For example, in February 2016, during the Obama administration, Breitbart News reported numerous combat veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan who might need treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder were increasingly hesitant to pursue it because they feared a diagnosis of PTSD would be used to deny their gun rights under the Obama administration.

A combat vet confined to a wheelchair spoke to Breitbart News anonymously at the time, saying, “I was diagnosed with PTSD. What’s being done to be sure my guns aren’t taken away?” He said he lived with the added anxiety of questioning his every trip to the doctor, fearing that he was one visit away from having his gun rights snuffed out.

This also became a serious concern for veterans who needed help balancing their checkbooks and managing their finances due to the mental strain caused by combat. Veterans feared that they faced a stark choice of having a fiduciary or having gun rights.

On July 25, 2019, Breitbart News pointed out that U.S. Reps. Phil Roe (R-TN) and Collin Peterson (D-MN) introduced legislation prohibiting the Veterans Administration from interfering with a veteran’s Second Amendment rights because that vet needs help managing finances.

Roe said:

Every day, servicemen and women fight to defend the rights endowed in our constitution. But, as veterans, those same men and women can be deprived of one of those rights by a government bureaucrat without due process. Even violent criminals are treated better than that. This is a disgrace and the Veterans 2nd Amendment Protection Act would put a stop to it. By prohibiting VA from sending information to the FBI about veterans or their family members without a judicial ruling stating that they are a danger to themselves or others, this bill would ensure that the veterans who fought for our rights are guaranteed their own.

Last year, lawmakers were able to agree on language that protected Veterans’ gun rights when the Senate passed Sen. John Kennedy’s (R-LA) amendment (to an appropriations bill) protecting military veterans’ Second Amendment rights from Department of Veteran Affairs  overreach.

But now, with Veterans Affairs funding ending this Friday, Punchbowl News noted that there is a “disagreement” among legislators regarding “a Senate provision barring the VA from sending a veteran’s name to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System–used for gun purchases–when a fiduciary is appointed to oversee that person’s benefits.”

On February 27, 2024, Gun Owners of America suggested Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) may be “trying to renegotiate gun control in a secret back-room deal.”

AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio and a pro-staffer for Pulsar Night Vision. He was a Visiting Fellow at the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal in 2010 and holds a Ph.D. in Military History, with a focus on the Vietnam War (brown water navy), U.S. Navy since Inception, the Civil War, and Early Modern Europe. Follow him on Instagram: @awr_hawkins. You can sign up to get Down Range at Reach him directly at


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