What veterans need to know about the executive order gun control measures

As the President’s executive orders concerning gun control make their march into taking effect, some veterans, including ranking members of the American Legion, are beginning to worry that their right to bear arms may be in jeopardy.

For some, those fears may have already been realized.

Reportedly as a response to an overwhelming number of firearm purchases inundating the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check system, the FBI has chosen to temporarily halt for an undetermined amount of time the processing of thousands of appeals from possible buyers whose firearm purchase attempts have been denied for various reasons.

According to USA Today, the rise in firearms purchases is likely in response to the threat of executive orders and that FBI director Stephen Morris says the halt in appeals began on the 20th of January.

Critics of the situation point out that suspending the denial appeals, which is fairly common and often due to little more than clerical or identification errors, is the suspension of the right to due process for at least 7,100 Americans and counting.

Other aspects of the executive order include disclosure of mental health records. Under the rule, which takes effect next month, for the first time health providers can disclose the information to the background check system without legal repercussions. According to the American Legion, this could prove perilous for veterans, from barring of firearms ownership to veterans not seeking treatment in fear of losing rights.

“The American Legion strongly believes that treatment for PTSD or depression by itself, which a number of wartime veterans experience, should not be the sole factor in denying a veteran the right to purchase a firearm,” said American Legion National Commander Dale Barnett in a statement earlier this month.

With over 20% of the 2.7 million servicemembers of the Iraq & Afghanistan wars reporting PTSD or combat-related depression at some point, the American Legion feels an arbitrary action related to mental health records is a threat to both Veteran liberties and personal safety.

“Barring some additional circumstances that would indicate that a veteran represents a dangerous threat, veterans should not have to forfeit their Second Amendment rights,” Barnett said. “Veterans have fought to protect the constitutional rights of all Americans. The American Legion believes that the rights of these heroes deserve protection.”

Both the FBI and NICS offices were contacted for comment but they have yet to respond.

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  • Andy Wolf

    Andy Wolf is an Appalachian native who spent much of his youth and young adulthood overseas in search of combat, riches, and adventure- accruing decades of experience in military, corporate, first responder, journalistic and advisory roles. He resides in North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains with his K9 companion, Kiki.

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