A shocking memorandum uncovered by The Daily Caller reveals that the Department of Veterans Administration (VA) is sharing confidential veteran medical information with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to stop veterans from buying firearms and to seize firearms veterans already own.
The transfer of confidential health information about veterans from the VA to the FBI is a violation of federal law and constitutes a direct attack on the Second Amendment right of veterans to own and use firearms for hunting, shooting and self-defense.
Never the less, the VA sends veterans’ personal medical and financial information directly to the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, which can seize their guns in home raids.
Veterans deemed mentally incompetent or financially incapable without being given a chance to challenge the conclusions are beginning to speak out about the problem and the fear of harassment they and their families face from the federal government – and it all starts with a visit to the VA for medical help.
Like all doctor visits, insurance forms are filled out, medical histories are compiled, interviews are conducted and medical examinations are made.
In the case of the VA, officials can, at their sole discretion, for any reason and without review, add your name to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) – the database Federal Firearms Licensee’s (FFL’s) use to conduct background checks on handgun purchases. If your name appears on the list of “prohibited persons”, the sale is denied.
And that means ANY reason including but not limited to personal finances, common medical issues, political views, group affiliations, medical interview answers – anything that you reveal during a typical medical interview prior to treatment.
Then there are the guns veterans already own.
The FBI can cross-reference new information generated by a visit to the VA with any information they have on file concerning firearms you already own. If the computer spits out your name as a “prohibited buyer”, it also means you are a “prohibited owner”.
The record is replete with cases where unknowing veterans have been raided by ATF agents who demand they turn over their previously legal firearms. According to The Daily Caller:
“A [VA] counselor named Dr. Blair says, ‘How are you handling your finances?’” veteran Henry Wrobel of Canton, Texas told TheDC. “I said my wife suggested, to make it a little bit easier for me, maybe use the auto-debit instead of going to the post office because it’s hard for me to drive” with injuries including two “made-up thumbs” resulting from 12 hand surgeries, a wired-on shoulder, and other ailments.
“The counselor “wrote down that I was unable to handle my own finances and that ‘his wife handles his finances.’ I got a letter saying that because I can’t handle my finances I’m like a felon and I can’t be around guns.”
The revelation that the VA and the FBI are sharing veteran health information also extends to the Department of Homeland Security ((DHS) that regards returning veterans as the top terror threat facing the country today. The document is reproduced here:
As Michael Connelly, executive director of the United States Justice Foundation told The Daily Caller that:
“The [FBI] memo is particularly troubling to us because it makes it clear that the FBI is rubber-stamping the lists of veterans being sent to it by the VA and placing these veterans on the NICS list under the category of people being declared to have been ‘adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to a mental institution.’”
“There is a total lack of due process here, and it is never mentioned in the memo. The burden of proof is on the veterans and even if they succeed in getting the incompetency ruling reversed, the VA is apparently not informing the DOJ of that so the veterans stay on the NICS list. Some veterans say that they send the info to the FBI that still refuses to move them from the list.”
A major concern of veteran’s health advocates is the effect that information sharing will have on beneficiaries. If the practice of disclosing veteran medical records by the VA with other government agencies is not strictly regulated to extreme cases, veterans will avoid taking advantage of the healthcare benefits they have earned and have a right to receive.