Before the Florida VA hospital shooting Wednesday night, Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tennessee, went to the House floor to argue that a gun control bill to expand background checks would restrict the 2nd Amendment rights of veterans with mental health problems.
On Wednesday at a joint hearing of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committees, and later on the House floor, Roe, the former chairman and now ranking member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, said a clause in the House gun control bill could affect more than a million veterans, Military.Com reports.
The vote on the first bill, dubbed the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, passed largely along party lines 240 to 190 with Democrats who control the House cheering as they carried the legislation across the finish line.
A second bill to be taken up Thursday, would extend the period federal authorities have to complete a background check before a gun sale can go through. Under current law, if a check isn’t finalized in three business days, the transaction can automatically proceed.
The bill includes a little understood clause that would make it illegal for anyone to possess firearms who has been “adjudicated with mental illness, severe developmental disability, or severe emotional instability.” It would also be illegal to sell firearms to such an individual.
“To put this in perspective, there are over 1.6 million disabled veterans with a service-connected adjudication by VA of mental illness, including one million veterans with PTSD,” ~ Roe
All could potentially end up on the FBI’s NICS list (National Instant Criminal Background Check System), Roe added. He said he offered an amendment in the Rules Committee to exempt veterans, but it was ruled out of order.
“I am concerned that the expanded definition proposed in H.R. 1112 would infringe on the 2nd Amendment rights of over a million veterans, solely because they receive benefits from VA that they have rightly earned through their service to our country,” Roe said.
Democratic leaders also succeeded in quelling a small rebellion among freshman Democrats from Republican-leaning districts, persuading them to oppose a politically freighted Republican procedural motion after they backed a similar motion on Wednesday.
The 228-to-198 vote aims to extend the background check review period for gun purchasers to 10 days. Currently, the F.B.I. must perform its review and determine whether there is sufficient evidence to deny a purchase in three business days. If it cannot complete the review within that time, a buyer may return to the dealer on the fourth day to purchase a firearm.
PTSD IS NOT A MENTAL ILLNESS ITS IS SIMPLY A Psychological Injury Due to a Traumatic Event.
Chris “Badger” Thomas is a Veteran who served our country as an Army Combat Medic.