May 2, 2017
Thank you for contacting me regarding H.R.1181, the Veterans Second Amendment Protection Act. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.
Veterans who have served and sacrificed for our nation have earned our deepest gratitude, and we owe a great debt to them and their families. One of my highest priorities as a Senator is to ensure that our nation is doing right by our veterans. That can mean helping them to find a home and a job, to recover from physical and psychological wounds, to take full advantage of the benefits they were promised when they entered the military, and many other things.
H.R.1181 is a bill that would change the adjudication process for how it is determined if a veteran is mentally unstable to the point where he or she should not be allowed to possess a firearm. Concerns over this process stem from reports that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has denied veterans the right to own a firearm without sufficient reason or explanation. H.R. 1181 would prohibit any determination of a veteran’s mental fitness made by the VA from being used to deny a veteran the right to own a firearm, and would instead require a judge or other judicial authority to make such a determination.
I support the rights of Minnesotans and veterans to own firearms for collection, protection, and recreation, and as Senator, I have traveled across the state to listen to community members’ thoughts on reducing gun violence while respecting Americans’ rights under the Second Amendment. I want to continue to honor our state’s tradition of responsible gun ownership while taking commonsense steps to protect our children and make our communities safer. I also believe it is very important that we not stigmatize Americans with mental health issues.
So when a person is judged unable to own a firearm for reasons of mental health, that decision must be made in a responsible way. The debate over H.R. 1181 is about how the government should responsibly make such decisions when it comes to veterans. The bill passed the House of Representatives on March 16, 2017 and has been referred to the Senate. Please be assured that I will keep your thoughts in mind if this bill comes to the Senate floor for a vote.
I appreciate hearing from you on this important topic and please do not hesitate to contact me again on this or any other matter of concern to you.
United States Senator