In a “Quick reference Guide for Clinicians” obtained by LMS, the Veterans Administration guide instructs clinicians to question veterans on whether or not they have access to firearms. It then goes further and instructs clinician to restrict the patient’s access to those firearms using the police if necessary. In fairness to the VA, the guide is for potentially suicidal vets; however, the knowledge that gun confiscation may be a part of the treatment plan will scare off vets in need of and seeking help for a range of issues such as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Further, in the event a clinician orders the veteran restricted from access to firearms (whether justifiably or note), this diagnosis will likely plague the veteran and bar any future purchase or possession of firearms. Once diagnosed, the veteran has few to no resources to undo the damage to their gun rights even if the suicidal tendencies were a temporary, treatable, or curable condition.
Even more chilling is how this practice can be expanded to other issues such as depression or other common symptoms of PTSD that often occur in many returning veterans, but typically subside on their own quickly. For many of those veterans in transition, the military urges and sometimes mandates psychological screening and treatment. Any positive diagnosis or even temporary treatment to include routine counseling could be used to justify a psychologically unstable or incompetent verdict being rendered against the veteran. Under state and federal firearms laws this could again, bar future purchase or possession of a firearm. Based on studies and threat warnings released by the Department of Homeland Security that have vilified gun owning veterans as terrorists and potential right-wing extremists, it is not a leap to suggest that the current Administration seeks to quietly disarm its returning veterans using this backdoor tactic of forcing treatment and then using the “documented” mental or psychological treatment to permanently disarm them. Not only would that remove probably the most capable armed segment in this society that this Administration has called potential “terrorists,” but could be done with government paid “experts” in very short order.
Our veterans deserve the very best in care, but what they do not deserve is to be stripped of their constitutional rights for their service. Veterans dealing with PTSD, which could at times include suicidal thoughts, neither want nor need to be labeled and blacklisted. They need to be treated and treated in a manner where they are free from legal recriminations that have ranged from biased custody judgements, denial of security clearances, and now even the very rights the fought to preserve! Please write your local VFW, Foreign Legion, and Congressional representatives and demand this policy be modified to ensure veterans are not banned from possessing firearms and that there is a clear and simple process to reverse cases already processed.