New Law Asks Are You “Psychologically Competent” to Own a Weapon?

February 24, 2013 10:51 am  

(Dr. Jerome R. Corsi) - The raging gun debate is about to enter a new phase as Congress moves this week to begin considering new legislation that would impose new restrictions on the Second Amendment.This solution proposed by negotiations between Senator Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat, and Senator Charles Coburn, a Republican from Oklahoma, involves expanding background checks on gun purchases, but the danger is that the criteria of psychological disqualification are so poorly defined that

Their goal has been to introduce bipartisan legislation that would require background checks in virtually all gun purchases, where today about 40 percent of gun purchases do not require registrations and background checks.

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What Schumer and Coburn are attempting to do may seem innocuous.  Who would object to background checks to keep weapons out of the hands of criminals?

The problem is once the door is opened to background checks, the door is opened to the government making judgments of competency and there is where the infringement of the Second Amendment can be expanded to virtually outlaw guns.

Every adult has some incident in their background that a government bureaucrat with a prejudice against the Second Amendment could judge renders the person psychologically unfit to own a weapon.

Coburn, appearing on Fox News on Sunday, February 24, 2013, said he and Schumer are yet far apart, with Coburn insisting that the government must not be allowed to retain records of private gun sales.

Senator Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat who is the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, told the New York Times he wants to make sure the Senate takes up gun legislation while the memory of the shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, is yet fresh with the public.

Leahy’s statement lends support to the suspicion the Obama administration, in the spirit of following former White House chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel’s advice not to let a good crisis go to waste, remains intent on jamming new Second Amendment impingements through Congress while the opportunity yet remains to exploit the public emotional reaction to the shooting.

If Schumer and Coburn fail to reach a compromise, Leahy and a dozen others in the Senate are prepared to push their own versions of anti-gun restrictions on gun ownership.

The New York Times reported the Coburn-Schumer measure would punish states that fail to keep gun registration systems current and would expand background checks into many private sales between individuals.

Last week, the Obama administration provided ample evidence how easily reasonable background checks to exclude criminals from owning weapons can be expanded into a means of preventing law-abiding citizens from owning weapons.

A letter the Department of Veterans Affairs has begun mailing to veterans informs recipients 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).”

One letter in question informed a veteran that the Veterans Administration was proceeding to determine if the individual could be deemed “incompetent” because of a physical or mental condition, with the result that the person might be forced to relinquish to the VA the authority to handle their VA benefit payments.

The letter also warned that an incompetency determination would result in a “fiduciary” being appointed to manage the veterans payments.

The VA further 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, or imprisoned, or both.”

Attorney Michael Connelly, in his capacity as executive director of the United States Justice Foundation has now contacted veterans who have received the letter. 

“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 [Veterans Administration],” Connelly wrote.

Connelly noted that, as a consequence of the Fifth Amendment, 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.

His conclusion is ominous: “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.”

Connelly correctly argued it is outrageous that the Veterans Administration now seeks to limit the Second Amendment Constitutional rights of men and women who have risked their lives to defend the Constitution.

“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,” Connelly wrote.

This is the problem with background checks.   Who is to say if a report written by an angry school administrator or former boss will not surface in a loosely constructed and ill-defined background check?  What exactly are the criteria to declare someone is not sufficiently stable psychologically to own a weapon.  Will an angry divorce disqualify a spouse from Second Amendment gun ownership rights?


Jerome R. Corsi, a Harvard Ph.D., is the founder of the 1776 Nation and chief writer for the Tea Party Research Team of He has authored many books, including No. 1 N.Y. Times best-sellers “The Obama Nation” and “Unfit for Command.

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