Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Feds snatching Veterans' gun Rights.

Tom's Journal. http://tomschuckmanjournal.blogspot.com/ tschuckman@aol.com

God does NOT like Cowards!  We need to stand up and fight against a 'run away Socialist Gov't... like obama's Gov't!'   What a stinking shame!

Tom Schuckman
Disabled Vietnam Vet: 68-70.

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The first in what is expected to be a series of lawsuits has been filed by the United States Justice Foundation against the Veterans Administration for snatching veterans’ gun rights without “due process” or any “factual or legal basis.”
WND has published multiple reports about how returning veterans were being deprived of their Second Amendment rights without a court-based adjudication competency process, based on arbitrary VA agency decisions.
The problem arises when the agency wants to appoint a fiduciary – someone to advise a disabled veteran or one receiving certain government benefits – to help with the management of those benefits.
The government then routinely notifies the FBI’s NICS system, a federally maintained list of those whose competency has been challenged, and that means they no longer can purchase a gun – or even keep the one they may have.
Michael Connelly, executive director of the USJF, told WND the initial lawsuit is to compel the VA to respond to two requests under the Freedom of Information Act.
“The information requested included Veterans Benefits Administration rules, regulations and criteria for making ‘determinations of incompetency due to a physical or mental condition of a benefit recipient,’” the legal team explained.
Copies of the 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 team said.
The USJF said the VA simply didn’t respond.
“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,” said Connelly. “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 action has been filed in the U.S. District court for the Southern District of California.
Connelly said additional cases are expected.
Big Brother? Read all about him, in “One Nation Under Surveillance.”
“The USJF will not charge the veterans or their families any fees or expenses for its representation,” Connelly said. “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.”
WND broke the story earlier that the Obama administration insists it is routine for officials to send out letters informing veterans that an unidentified “report” indicates they may be declared incompetent and consequently stripped of their Second Amendment rights.
It’s the same administration that in 2009 warned that “returning veterans possess combat skills and experience that are attractive to rightwing extremists.”
The 2009 report, from the Department of Homeland Security, was called “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment.” It also said Obama’s governmental managers were “concerned that rightwing extremists will attempt to recruit and radicalize returning veterans in order to boost their violent capabilities.”
So when hundreds, perhaps thousands, of veterans began receiving letters like the one dispatched from the Portland, Ore., office of the Department of Veterans Affairs, alarm bells went off.
WND had reported earlier that a veteran in Oregon received a letter informing him of “a report from Portland VA Medical Center on December 3, 2012.”
Evidence already in
The letter warned the vet that “evidence indicates that you are not able to handle your VA benefit payments because of a physical or mental condition.”
“We propose to rate you incompetent for VA purposes. This means we must decide if you are able to handle your VA benefit payments. We will base our decision on all the evidence we already have including any other evidence you sent to us.”
Completion of the incompetency determination would mean a “fiduciary” would be appointed to manage the veteran’s payments.
The VA also warned: “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.”
The letter then offered the veteran an opportunity to “request a personal hearing within 30 days from the date at the top of this letter to present evidence or argument on any important point in your claim.”
But it said the VA will not pay some of the expenses of the hearing.
“If we don’t hear from you within the next 60 days, we will assume you have no additional evidence and do not want a hearing. After those 60 days we will make our decision using the evidence we already have and tell you our decision.”
The letter was signed by K. Kalama, Veterans Service Center manager in the Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs. But it didn’t present the “evidence,” the source of the evidence or why the veteran’s competency even was questioned.
The veteran contacted the United States Justice Foundation, which defends civil and religious rights, and now that organization reports a flood of similar concerns expressed by veterans across the country.
In a statement on the organization’s website, Connelly first said his organization was pursuing a Freedom of Information Act request with 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,” he wrote.
WND contacted the Department of Veterans Affairs, and spokesman Randy Noller responded with a statement that the letters were no more than routine. But questions about why the letters are being sent, what evidence is used to determine a veteran is incapable of managing his or her affairs, who provides that information and why it is provided remain unanswered.
“The Department of Veterans Affairs’ policy to inform veterans of their rights regarding the Brady Act has not changed,” the statement said. “As has been policy for multiple administrations, VA acts in accordance with federal law and works with the Department of Justice to properly maintain the NICS database. VA notifies any veteran who may be deemed by VA to be mentally incapable of managing his or her own funds of the opportunity to contest this determination and also to seek relief from the reporting requirements under the Brady Act, as required by law.”
Also unanswered were who makes the decision to put in motion the department’s decision to “deem” veterans “mentally incapable.”
The VA did include some background that the law allows such actions for those who “have been ‘adjudicated as a mental defective.’” But the VA declined to provide information about any adjudication process.
It only said, “Before VA makes determinations of incompetency it affords the affected individuals due process – advance notice and an opportunity to be heard and submit evidence of their ability to manage funds.”
The letters, apparently, comprise the notice.
But all does not sit well with Connelly, whose organization is digging now into matter.
The Oregon letter, he said, sounds “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,” he said. “It is being sent by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to hundreds, perhaps thousands, of America’s heroes.”
No specifics
Connelly noted 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,” he explained.
“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,” Connelly wrote.
Connelly argued 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,” Connelly said.
He said the issue raises another huge question.
“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,” he wrote.
Read the letter:

Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2013/04/feds-sued-for-snatching-veterans-gun-rights/#BpD6J4E2VbCc60XH.99

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