House passes bill enabling gun sales to veterans deemed ‘mentally incompetent’
Stars and Stripes | .
published: March 18, 2017
WASHINGTON – The House on Thursday passed legislation prohibiting the Department of Veterans Affairs from placing veterans on a no-gun list, despite outcry from some Democrats and former military leaders.
The House voted 240-175 approving the Veterans Second Amendment Protection Act, which will now go to the Senate. Critics of the bill said it would make it easier for veterans with mental illnesses to access firearms, which would increase risk of suicide and pose a danger to families.
“It’s going to result in more deaths, more suicides of veterans throughout this nation,” retired Navy Capt. Mark Kelly said Thursday on a call with reporters. “It weakens our background-check system and makes our country a less safe place.”
Kelly, along with his wife Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., created Americans for Responsible Solutions, a gun-control advocacy group, after she was shot outside a Tucson, Ariz., supermarket in 2011.
Under current law, the Department of Veterans Affairs considers veterans who cannot manage their VA benefits and need another person to help with their finances as “mentally incompetent.” The department reports the names of those veterans to the FBI, which adds them to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System – the national database that gun merchants are required to check before selling a firearm.
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