Patrick Howley of the Daily Caller has written that mental health information collected by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is being transferred to the FBI so patients can be added to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) list of individuals restricted from owning or possessing guns.
According to Howley’s Daily Caller article, the VA said in a responding statement: “The Department of Veterans Affairs’ policy to inform veterans of their rights regarding the Brady Act has not changed. As has been policy for multiple administrations, VA acts in accordance with federal law and works with the Department of Justice to properly maintain the NICS database. VA notifies any veteran who may be deemed by VA to be mentally incapable of managing his or her own funds of the opportunity to contest this determination and also to seek relief from the reporting requirements under the Brady Act, as required by law.” In response to the Daily Caller article, the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity issued a statement, asking: Where is the recognition that the rights at issue here are explicitly protected in the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution? It seems the VA values a vague reference to “policy for multiple administrations” above the Constitution. What of the long-respected American legal protection of doctor-patient confidentiality? How can the VA claim that its actions are justified because it informs patients of the privacy-violating, rights-restricting policy it uses against patients? Patients may logically choose to waive confidentiality to some degree in some instances, but this seems far from a fair waiver situation. It looks more like duress. Where is the due process? You do not meet due process by summarily depriving someone of the ability to exercise his rights without even a court adjudication and then “generously” allowing him to go through a long, confusing, and expensive process of attempting to prove the deprivation was not justified. You can read here, here, and here more reports by the Ron Paul Institute regarding the ongoing expansion of the scope of mental-health databases and of the databases’ use by the U.S. and state governments to prevent people from exercising gun rights.