CCRKBA BACKS SEN. COBURN’S OPPOSITION TO TENETS OF H.R. 327

Tuesday, September 11th, 2007

BELLEVUE, WA – The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) today agreed with Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn that there is a serious flaw in H.R. 327 – the so-called Joshua Omvig Veterans’ Suicide Prevention Act – that could ultimately prevent military veterans from exercising the Second Amendment rights they have fought to defend.

The problem, as pointed out by Sen. Coburn, a doctor by profession, is that “it preconditions health care for veterans on mental health screening.” That is, a veteran seeking treatment for any condition, including a common cold or flu, must first undergo a comprehensive mental health screening.

“Senator Coburn thinks that’s absurd, and so do we,” said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. “Nobody should be subjected to that kind of humiliation. Right now, there is a huge debate over legislation to improve the National Instant Check System records that would ostensibly allow some 80,000 veterans, whose private medical records were arbitrarily shared with the Justice Department by the Clinton Administration in 1999, to get relief from that gun rights ‘disability.’ Senator Coburn recalled in an open letter on Sept. 5 that this records sharing was ‘an effort to prohibit the purchasing of firearms by veterans who had been diagnosed as having mental health concerns at one point in their lives.’ Anybody who’s ever seen combat might have had some stressful moments, but that’s no reason to deny them their constitutional rights.”

Added CCRKBA Executive Director Mark A. Taff: “Senator Coburn properly believes there should be an ‘opt-out’ provision in this legislation allowing veterans to forego such screenings. Going through a screening ought to be up to the individual and his or her family, not some bureaucrat, and certainly not a one-size-fits-all legislative mandate.”

“Democrats have criticized Senator Coburn over his stubbornness,” Gottlieb noted, “which suggests that once again, they’re trying to push a back-door scheme to deny an ever-increasing number of Americans their firearm civil rights. Democrats simply cannot overcome their party’s well-established gun control agenda.

“Democrats insist they support gun rights,” Gottlieb concluded. “Deleting this mental health screening requirement would be a sensible first step toward proving it.”