VA Confiscation of Veteran’s Guns Doesn’t Go According to Plan

In a letter dated July 30, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs told Navy veteran John Arnold of Priest River, Idaho, that they were coming for his guns.

Arnold suffered a stroke about a year ago and in paperwork filed with the VA a clerical error was made saying that Arnold, who is in his seventies, is no longer competent to handle his finances.

This error set in motion the letter that he received last month telling him that he was no longer allowed to buy, sell or possess firearms.

Needless to say, the Second Amendment enthusiast was distressed about the news.

A VA representative was scheduled to show up at his house to look things over. For support, Arnold reached out to a friend. But then word spread of Arnold’s situation and almost 100 members of the community should up to support Arnold.

“A couple days ago it was going to be me sitting here with John and today it’s quite a few folks that so it’s veterans taking care of veterans,” said Arnold’s friend Ranger Rick.

The VA representative never showed up that day. Though, Arnold is now working with the VA to fix the error.

“If somebody else makes an error and they cause you grief they should fix it,” said Arnold. “That’s all I want is that stuff to get fixed.”

“I just hope everything calms down and I can live in ease in my life instead of worrying about everything and the worry shouldn’t be there,” Arnold added.

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 35 comments… add one }
  • JPHamilton August 13, 2015, 8:31 am

    So why is there a guy standing in the yard with a 5 foot wooden cross? Expecting vampires? Planning to burn it later, are ya?

  • Jim Callihan August 11, 2015, 11:31 am

    This is again another ‘shining moment’ in VA history. Who, in the first place, determined that this man was ‘not fit’ to possess a gun? Secondly, who made the determination to aggressively search his home and remove his guns?

    What a sad and blatant abuse of ‘so-called’ VA power. In my opinion, it all stems from ‘above’, and the White House is behind all the movements we see happening in this country today to further restrict and downright trample our constitutional freedoms. It is getting worse by the day, and the sooner we get someone in command the better off the entire country will be. Living as a ‘subject’ instead of a free man who has all the promises of the bill of rights and Constitution really isn’t living at all, but doing what is ‘mandated’ as we go from day to day. Sad, very sad indeed!

    • MadDog February 4, 2018, 11:24 pm

      If inability to handle financial matters makes one ineligible to possess arms…I’m assuming they’ve already confiscated them from ever senator and congressman…yeah!

  • BRASS August 11, 2015, 3:30 am

    Best advice is avoid any absolutely unnecessary contact or interaction with the government. Remain as independent as long as possible and have plans for help if needed that do not involve the government.
    It is outrageous that the government would arbitrarily decide that they can confiscate personal property without due process in clear violation of the US Constitution.
    The government cannot be trusted, they are largely incompetent, disinterested, biased, ignorant, disingenuous and led by empire builders who spend their time in meetings talking about the last and the next meeting. Many are textbook examples of the Peter Principle. Been there, done that, survived.

  • Matt Haraway August 10, 2015, 2:25 pm

    From what I have seen and read,as this government pushes for more control of the American citizen and especially are leveling their sites on veterans,I see absolutely no reason why any man,woman,or child(teenager-18 years old) would ever want to serve their country.The benefits are less than outstanding.You get to be yelled at,shot at,blown up,maimed for life and then the treatment you receive from this country is to be ignored,labeled,and mistreated.You lose your rights just because there seems to be an agenda by this government and DOJ,not to mention the anti-gunners.From articles I have read quoting congressmen like Harry Reid and friends,the vet is at the top of the list as a domestic terrorist.You have former military congressmen like McCain who vote to decrease vets pensions.A soldier-vet goes to the VA to get treatment and is on a waiting list while you get more action if you are an illegal alien.One last point.What determines inability to manage finances.How many people and families have gone bankrupt due to poor management on their part or the governments part( example;housing bubble,etc).Even Trump filed for bankruptcy.So,should everyone loose their 2nd amendment rights because the government and DOJ says so?There is a growing attempt to disarm Americans.People can be as blind to it as they want to but I feel it has nothing to do with gun violence and more to do with controlling the masses for what purpose we can only speculate.

  • Reticent Rogue August 10, 2015, 10:33 am

    The 4473 asks very distinctly and clearly if one has been ‘adjudicated’ mentally defective or not in the qualifying questions for purchasing a firearm. How then has the VA–and presumably the Federal Government–gone from having to have a summary court judge consider any available medical evidence and the testimony of ‘experts’ to determine mental competency to ‘any evidence, including VA clerical errors’ giving them the same judicial power as a judge? Either one hand doesn’t bother to see what the other is doing or they are so desperate to disarm folks they don’t care whether they are violating their own rules.

    • kane August 10, 2015, 10:58 am

      You make a good point but I suspect that there is more important information that was not included in the story. The veteran might have complicated matters by divulging private information to the VA that was then misused by the VA. For all veterans be careful of questions by the overreaching VA.

  • grn August 10, 2015, 10:15 am

    My apologies. I living in the rural Midwest have always thought of the left coast as a bunch of kelp eating, tree hugging, anti-gun nuts. After watching this clip, seeing all of the open carry has given me hope that all is not lost. Well done Priest River.

  • Brian August 10, 2015, 9:51 am

    Here is how Government works.
    If you are a Veteran, you receive benefits, real or imagined.
    The elitists in government, decide you should not have a gun. so they change the rules to say, If you have to have help managing your finances, you are incompetent. If you are incompetent, you should lose your rights to have a gun. If you lose your rights, you do not have any recourse with the courts. After all, it is rules, not law we are talking about here.
    But if you lose your 2d Amendment right, why stop there? After all, if someone is incompetent, they should not have free speech. They might say something that is considered ‘Hate Speech.’ While at it, they should lose the right to counsel, as these are rules, not laws we are talking about. Then that freedom of religion needs to go, after all, saying that something is wrong gets you a court gag order and a fine from the State of Oregon.
    Then why stop there? If a Vet is incompetent because they cannot manage their finances by themselves, then shouldn’t the same rules apply to everyone? Doesn’t that sound good? For the safety of the ‘Children’?
    Did anyone notice there is no definition of ‘managing your finances’?
    So how many of you agree to the gun confiscation goes to a Tax company to get your taxes filed?
    That seems to meet the definition.

  • Chuck August 10, 2015, 9:47 am

    All Vets must stand together on any attempt to disenfranchise those who served!

    • Dale Haverty October 7, 2016, 8:46 am

      Not just all vets, but all citizens.

  • David August 10, 2015, 9:28 am

    You didn’t mention in the article that the local Police Chief and the County Sheriff were also present. Idaho law prohibits his guns being taken away, law enforcement was there to enforce Idaho Law. Idaho statue 18-3315b

  • Den Dover August 10, 2015, 9:00 am

    What does that do with our police force ??? Most are ex-military –

  • Larry C August 10, 2015, 8:47 am

    It is obvious here that many do not watch the news nor follow what is happening in D.C.
    Obama, using his pen and phone, made an executive order that ANY senior that needs assistance in their financial affairs be declared “incompetent”. This then puts that senior on the NICS list and their guns are to be taken away. The trouble is that most of us do not follow all the executive orders that come out of Obama’s office. All seniors are now in danger of some government official taking away their guns.
    I live in Idaho and have friends in Priest River. One of my friends was at the man’s home. A VA official actually did come to the home but when he saw the crowd that was less than friendly to him, and had a change of mind and left without incident.
    Had this happened in the states of CA, NY, NJ, be assured that the guns would have been confiscated.

    • John 45 August 10, 2015, 9:33 am

      How did they know he owned firearms ? Oregon says they do not retain that information after back ground check is cleared. But why would they need the serial number and make / model of the firearm if they are just checking to see if you are legal to own what difference does it make what your buying. Hmmmm
      Any information from gun owners would be appreciated . / if you support Oregon new gun bill or obama go talk to your mommy.

      • bill kuhlmann August 10, 2015, 3:55 pm

        his va health organization is under the control of the federal government and most likely his ownership of firearms was provided by his doctor thru a questionnaire many doctors are asking their patients.

  • Santa Walt August 10, 2015, 8:35 am

    I am an accredited VA service officer. The very first line of this article is not true. VA does NOT come and take anyone’s guns from them. In addition, it was likely a form letter which is a formality. If someone is found incompetent for any reason, gun ownership comes into question. I work with a number of vets that are incompetent for financial reasons, but not for other reasons. They keep the guns. It is a simple matter to raise the issue with VA. Most of the time, the matter is easily resolved, but it does take time. Everything takes time with the VA. Even an urgent claim can take three months. All this vet had to do was to respond to the letter disagreeing that he was incompetent and the question would most likely have been settled immediately. If any vet gets an incompetence letter and believes they are still competent, they should immediately disagree with the letter. Most likely this vet did not disagree with the incompetency finding and it was a fiduciary investigating officer that was scheduled to visit the vet to gather more information. If a vet wants someone to handle their finances, they can get a civil power of attorney to do that without involving the VA. VA does NOT have the authority to take anyone’s guns. They can only send their findings to those who do have the authority to take someone’s guns for incompetency. This entire event sounds like a lot of people jumped the gun (no pun intended) and got involved in what was an ongoing event in which no resolution had been reached. Finally, any vet needs to use a local veterans service officer. Most of them of capable of assisting the veteran to get the outcome desired. They generally understand how VA thinks. It seems that in this case either the vet did not consult a service officer, or the service office was incompetent to assist the vet. It also sounds like the vet agreed to the finding of incompetency in his financial affairs, did not fully read the letter explaining that finding to him, then agreeing to the appointment of a fiduciary to handle his financial affairs for him. There are too many questions unanswered in this article to determine exactly what happened. If is also obvious that the article’s author does not understand VA procedures, obligations, and regulations. The to author, I suggest you find a good competent veterans service officer and run your articles by him before printing an article with so many errors and unanswered questions in it.

    • Jeff August 10, 2015, 10:46 am

      Thank you for the info. This is exactly the information needed in order to protest or rebut the VA’s bureaucratic mumbo jumbo. I am P&T for a host of issues and was worried about this particular topic.

    • Brian August 10, 2015, 11:43 am

      If “incompetents” is the catch word then I would expect not many VA personnel themselves own guns because the ageny and their hospitals are failing our Veterans. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out the problems and the fixes. Under this Administration both our elderly and veterans have paid the heaviest prices.
      God Bless the USA!

  • Stephen Stewart August 10, 2015, 8:09 am

    Have you guys been living in a cave the past few months? This is exactly what the NRA has been warning us about that Obama was going to do; Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder expressing deep concerns over Veterans Affairs evaluations classifying veterans as “mentally defective” and banning them in the federal background check system from purchasing or owning a firearm.

    According to Grassley’s office, the VA “reports individuals to the gun ban list if an individual merely needs financial assistance managing VA benefits,” keeping them from exercising their Second Amendment rights. (Bolding is mine)

    “The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is effectively a national gun ban list and placement on the list precludes the ownership and possession of firearms. According to the Congressional Research Service, as of June 1, 2012, 99.3% of all names reported to the NICS list’s “mental defective” category were provided by the Veterans Administration (VA) even though reporting requirements apply to all federal agencies. And that percentage remained virtually unchanged as of April 2013. Given the numbers, it is essential to ensure that the process by which the VA reports names to the Department of Justice (DOJ) for placement on the NICS list recognizes and protects the fundamental nature of veterans’ rights under the Second Amendment,” Grassley wrote in the letter. “Specifically, once the VA determines that a veteran requires a fiduciary to administer benefit payments, the VA reports that veteran to the gun ban list, consequently denying his or her right to possess and own firearms. In the past, the VA has attempted to justify its actions by relying on a single federal regulation, 38 C.F.R. § 3.353, which by its plain language grants limited authority to determine incompetence, but only in the context of financial matters: ‘Ratings agencies have sole authority to make official determinations of competency and incompetency for purposes of: insurance and…disbursement of benefits.'”

    The VA is placing veterans on the gun ban list without proper legal backing and is certainly engaged in over reach through this practice.

    • kane August 10, 2015, 11:08 am

      Great comment, meanwhile the VA’s incompetence remains unchecked.

  • David August 10, 2015, 7:36 am

    Is this a fact verified story? Credibility is suspect in a lot of the fear mongering stuff I see in this propaganda rag. David

    • kane August 10, 2015, 11:03 am

      No, rest easy, the story has been DEBUNKED by Rachel Maddow.

  • Rich August 10, 2015, 4:01 am

    Can someone explain to me SINCE WHEN DID THE V.A. HAVE THIS AUTHORITY???!!!

    • Jim August 10, 2015, 7:22 am

      Im a vet also and a 2nd Ammendment supporter. I think the VA or any medical group has the obligation to address a situation where someones mental health has deterioated to the point that having a gun is a poor situation. I think if you file for PTSD benefits with the VA they can take your guns. Is this the case?

      • Scott August 10, 2015, 9:37 am

        Please reference where the VA has the authority to take away someone’s Constitutional rights.

        • GEORGE MITCHELL August 15, 2016, 6:49 pm

          while I was going to a v/a medical appointment at the v/a hospital in Decatur Georgia ,my pistol was confiscated from my car by the valet who parked my car !! it was under my drivers seat where I always keep it .they back the cars into spaces so hitting the brakes hard caused my pistol to slide out from under the seat .they kept my weapon and now I have to
          go to court to get my pistol back !!!! I have a concealed weapon permit and no signs are posted no weapons allowed until you get to the hospital doors ,no signs at all in the parking lot .if you don’t use valet parking it takes forever to find a parking space .this really sucks .U.S.M.C # 2061358 .

      • Rich August 10, 2015, 5:48 pm

        Jim, that’s a bunch of bull***t. In this case, the guy had family. If the guy is legitimately unable to take care of himself, the guns go to his family, who should undergo a background check so none are prohibited possessors. I was being sarcastic, I know, as should all of us Vets—- the V.A. DOES NOT have the authority under ANY circumstances to “confiscate” firearms. Push comes to shove, this would fall within the BATF’s jurisdiction and they would most likely defer to local Law Enforcement….This whole story is an outrage and completely unacceptable…..

        • DieselDriver August 11, 2015, 9:54 pm

          What part of the second amendment allows the government to decide who can have a gun and who can’t. If you have to ask permission (get a background check) that’s an infringement on your right.

      • jim August 10, 2015, 8:02 pm

        I have PTSD and have no problems handling finances and firearms as well as interacting with the morons that we are forced to deal with on a day to day basis. PTSD doesn’t make you a danger to yourself or society and all these moronic rules and regs are going to accomplish is to drive people that truly need help and counseling further into the shadows and away from the humanity they need to interact with to restore their balance. Also keep in mind these are vets that defended our rights and freedoms not to be bundled and classified as defective when WE no longer need them or their services. PTSD is just another gift that keeps on giving from a country and people that pay lip service to how grateful they are for our sacrifice.
        Just my dimes worth as two cents don’t count for S**t anymore.

    • Robert T Willis August 10, 2015, 7:26 am

      They don’t!!!! I am glad it ended peacefully however, I could very well see a different outcome

    • Jake Monnett August 10, 2015, 10:00 pm

      VA is part of the Federal government isn’t it? Well, there’s your answer..

  • Mike August 7, 2015, 11:04 am

    I like how this case seems to have resolved itself. The Government works for the people. When the Government makes a mistake, we have the power to help them correct the issue. All that’s needed to keep the Government in line is to shine the light of day on it. Nobody needs to get mad or disrespectful, just get the issue out in the open.

    • Don August 10, 2015, 8:37 am

      Yeah, they’ll be prying my pistol from my cold dead hand.

    • Tom Horn August 14, 2015, 1:38 pm

      Yeah, funny how things, “resolve themselves” when they are up against 100 U.S. citizens, instead of one poor old man. I’d bet dollars to doughnuts that this old man wouldn’t possess a single firearm today, if it wasn’t for concerned friends stepping in.

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