(By Michael Connelly, Constitutional Attorney) -- With Memorial Day approaching Americans should be preparing to honor our veterans and military heroes currently fighting for us as well as remembering those we have lost. This honor should be especially due from our own government that has sent these brave men and women off to war. Unfortunately, the opposite is true. It is clear that the Federal government has declared war on our veterans and is intent on denying them the very Constitutional rights they fought to protect.
First there is the ever widening scandal involving the systematic denial of veterans Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms and their rights to due process under the provisions of the Fifth Amendment. This is being orchestrated by the VA which sends out letters to veterans telling them that because of physical or mental disabilities the VA is going to declare them incompetent to handle their own financial affairs and appoint a fiduciary to represent them.
Then in the same letter the veterans are told that “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 pursuant to the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, Pub.L.No. 103-159, as implemented at 18, United States Code 924(a)(2).”
An estimated 150,000 veterans are now on the NICS background check list and cannot legally purchase firearms. I believe that the vast majority of them do not belong on the list and many of the veterans don’t know why they are there or even that they have been placed on the list. The only legitimate reasons for veterans to lose Second Amendment Rights is if they have been convicted of a felony, are known drug addicts, or been found to be mentally ill to a point where they are a danger to themselves or others.
The veterans that are being represented by the United States Justice Foundation (USJF) are reporting to us that they are being declared incompetent for having minor depression, PTSD, or simply because they let their spouses pay the family bills. Some veterans are reporting that if they try to fight the VA determination of incompetence the VA either threatens to withhold their payments or actually has done so. This is extortion since many veterans rely on their VA payments to feed themselves and their families.
The VA has refused to respond to several requests made under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for information about the criteria being used to declare veterans incompetent and deny them their Second Amendment rights. The USJF has filed a suit to force the VA to turn over this information and will soon be filing a class action suit on behalf of veterans to stop the whole process.
This suit is the last chance these veterans may have since the bill introduced by Senator Richard Burr (R.NC) to protect the gun rights of veterans was recently defeated by the Democrats in the Senate.
There are at least three other attacks taking place on our veterans. The first has been the subject of a series of reports by the Fox News and ABC affiliates in Dallas, Texas which last fall reported that veterans going to the VA hospital were either having to wait for months to get treatment for serious illnesses or in some cases being denied effective treatment entirely. Two veterans were found to have committed suicide, one on the hospital grounds, because they were not being properly treated for their severe problems.
The second problem for our wounded warriors has been exposed in a series of reports by the Colorado Springs Gazette. According to the paper an extraordinary number of veterans who have received traumatic wounds, been treated and latter returned to their units, have ultimately received less than honorable discharges from the military for alleged misconduct. Once that happens, the soldiers can no longer receive treatment from the VA for their wounds or illnesses and they can’t receive any other benefits.
Reporter Dave Philipps stated in his article that: “It doesn't take serious misconduct to be discharged and lose a lifetime of benefits. The Gazette found troops cut loose for small offenses that the Army acknowledges can be symptoms of TBI and PTSD. Some soldiers missed formation a handful of times or smoked marijuana once. Some were discharged for showing up late or missing appointments. Some tested positive once for drugs, then were deployed to combat zones because the Army needed the troops, only to be discharged for the drug offense when they returned.”
In other words, wounded soldiers who have problems because of their injuries are rewarded for their combat service by getting kicked out of the military so the government will not have to fulfill its obligation to treat them.
Last, but certainly not least is the horrendous treatment the 32 members of the army who were wounded in the terrorist attack at Fort Hood, Texas on November 5, 2009. Since the Pentagon was ordered to be politically correct and label the attack by jihadist Nidal Milak Hasan as workplace violence instead of the obvious terrorist attack it was the soldiers who survived have been denied the Purple Heart medal for the wounds they received and denied the financial benefits that come with it.
According to a report on the NBC affiliate in Dallas some soldiers can barely afford to feed their families, yet Hasan has received his regular military pay since he was arrested and awaiting trial. The total pay so far is $268,000. His family has access to this money so our government is taking good care of the family of an Islamic terrorist and ignoring the families of our wounded soldiers. By the way, I join with the families of the 13 soldiers who died in the attack in asking why this man has not yet been tried for his crimes.
I am outraged by these actions of our government that dishonor our veterans and the debt we owe to them. This is developing into an additional scandal for the Obama administration yet many people are unaware that this is even happening. Please help me spread the word.
To my fellow veterans on this Memorial Day I can only say thank you for your service and I believe the American people will not let you be forgotten.
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Written by Michael Connelly, Constitutional Attorney
Please go to www.usjf.net and donate to help us pay for the lawsuit we are filing on behalf of our veterans to protect their 2nd Amendment rights. We will not charge the veterans anything to represent them so we need to raise thousands of dollars immediately.