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Ranking Member Roe Urges Colleagues to Oppose H.R. 1112, Fights for Veterans' 2nd Amendment Rights

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Washington, February 28, 2019 | Molly Jenkins (202-225-3527) | comments

Washington, D.C. - Today, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs Rep. Phil Roe's, M.D. (R-Tenn.) joined his colleagues on the House Floor to raise opposition to H.R. 1112. Roe not only shared his opposition to the bill, but voiced concerns on the legislation's infringement on veterans' 2nd amendment rights.

Below are Roe's remarks:  

Opening Remarks As Prepared for Delivery:

I rise today to fight for the rights of the brave men and women who risked their lives fighting for our rights.

The bill that we are debating – H.R. 1112 – would have a significant impact on veterans’ 2nd Amendment rights.

A little known and poorly understood provision of H.R. 1112 would amend the law make it unlawful for an individual that has been “adjudicated with mental illness, severe developmental disability, or severe emotional instability,” to possess a firearm.

It would also make it illegal to sell a firearm to such 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.

H.R. 1112 has the potential to add all the names of those veterans to the FBI’s NICS list and prevent those veterans from being able to possess or purchase a firearm.

I know that may not have been the intent of the author of this bill, but that is a lot of veterans that will be impacted if this bill becomes law.

I offered an amendment at the Rules Committee to clarify that veterans with VA mental illness and other affected adjudications would be exempt from the bill’s standard, but it was ruled out of order.

VA already sends the names of veterans who have a VA fiduciary for inclusion on the NICS list – not because there’s a concern that the veteran might be a harm to themselves or others – but because VA has determined that the veteran needs assistance handling his or her financial benefits.

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.

The last thing I want to do is discourage veterans from seeking VA benefits because they are afraid that it might cost a Constitutional right.

Although there may not have ever been a finding by a judicial authority that the veteran poses a danger to themselves or society – these veterans would be told that they were good enough to use a firearm to fight for our freedoms, but are not good enough to have the freedom to bear arms as a civilian.

Even criminals must be convicted in a court of law before their names are added to the NICS list.

Of all the Americans who deserve their constitutional rights, the most deserving are those who fought for our country.

This is why I am strongly opposed to H.R. 1112 and urge my colleagues to vote “no” on this bill.

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