It is difficult to fathom legislation proposed by Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) that would make it more difficult to keep guns out of the hands of veterans who have been deemed mentally incompetent by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, editorializes the Los Angeles Times. Burr wants the VA’s medical diagnoses be subject to the approval of a judge. That’s unnecessary, says the Times, because the VA already offers extensive due process to veterans whose mental capabilities are questioned, and the legal presumption is in favor of their competence.
After the Virginia Tech massacre by a student with psychological disorders, the National Rifle Association and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence worked together on a bill encouraging states to submit records of the dangerously mentally ill (as well as felons, fugitives and others) to the system. The bill also created a process to help veterans get their gun rights reinstated if they’d been improperly taken away. Adding another layer of bureaucracy to the process is pure political pandering, the Times says. About 100,000 veterans are currently deemed unfit to have access to guns, and under Burr’s bill, they would automatically be removed from the background check system until judicial review.