AMVETS in Action

VA has no business in Gun Control, Or Does It?

By Stewart Hickey, National Executive Director for American Veterans (AMVETS)-

VA appears to be positioned as a political pawn in the government’s bully pulpit to beat up on the Bill of Rights by hanging a public service announcement (PSA) on gun control and safety onto the suicide prevention-centric Veterans Crisis Line. VA’s message and intent to associate gun safety with the mission and purpose of the Veterans Crisis Line is muddy here. Are veterans so juvenile that they need the paternalist government telling them how to properly secure their weapons in their own homes? Never mind that there are four higher causes of injury-related deaths than firearms. Never mind that taking away the means doesn’t resolve why 22 veterans tragically resort to suicide every single day. This type of negative and inappropriate message only helps perpetuate the already skewed perception of veterans as unstable, dangerous and public threats. The solution to the problem is not the instrument being used, nor hyper-vigilance in the home, nor gun safety “best practices.” The solution starts with bettering the environment of hope, caring and resiliency for those in crisis and providing a timely and appropriate way forward. It starts with quick access to evidence-based treatment, counseling and support. The Veterans Crisis Line is a critical element of the solution and a pathway forward. We all realize that VA only wants what’s best for veterans but political distractions are interfering with their priorities. Pushing a gun control agenda on veterans is an irresponsible, disingenuous, ham-handed move on the part of the VA. This, coupled with a Surgeon General nominee (Dr. Vivek Murthy) who advocates for all doctors asking patients if they own or possess guns, makes one skeptical about our government’s interpretation of the second amendment. Just as my doctor has no business knowing whether or not I own a gun (since it also has no bearing on my medical condition), the VA has no business advocating the politics of gun control (since it has no bearing on the hope, care and support VA is supposed to be providing to our veterans). By itself, a PSA on gun safety seems insignificant, but it strikes me as being one more little seed being planted in the overall public landscape. Seed-by-seed, an unsettling collective pattern is starting to germinate around gun control, confiscation of weapons and similar influences and threats to the second amendment, all in the guise of gun safety. When we lose the rights we were born with as Americans we lose our freedom and that’s the one thing that all veterans have risked their lives to protect.
Media Contact: David Gai, (301) 683 4035,

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9 thoughts on “VA has no business in Gun Control, Or Does It?

  1. As a Vet. I am insulted by you making your idiotic stance on gun control. Why do we always have to arm both sides. Let’s make sure the Taliban and every wannabe gangsta has enough guns just so I don’t have to show ID.

  2. I received a mailing the other day from the Va asking if I wanted gun locks? An order form was included for the gun locks… of charge. In my opinion, this is nothing more than the Obama administration trying to find out information for gun control. I threw the papers in the trash and I would urge anyone else to do the same. They tried the same tactic last year when I went for a physical and they asked me a question as to whether or not I had any guns in the house…….I refused to answer that question…it had nothing to do with my health.

  3. As a Veteran and as an AMVET, I have and am sworn to uphold the Constitution in it’s entirety. There were no “exceptions” made. I believe Stewart is absolutely correct in his analysis. The Va’s ability to provide my medical care should not be compromised by any political agenda.This only chases Veterans away from an earned benefit. Doctors and administrators working for their patients should leave their politics at the front door, and the guiding policy from the “Politicians” should not be intruding on our rights….
    Thank you Stewart, for hitting the nail on the head !!

  4. Ok folks…let’s not work up a lather here. Guns and suicide go hand in hand and that can be backed up by the CDC. The VA’s stance has been that if you are depressed and potentially suicidal it makes sense that you take appropriate precautions. As a veteran and a gun owner who suffers from depression, I have removed the bolts from my rifles and gave them to my daughter as a common sense move. Suicidal urges are more often than not impulsive. They usually last anywhere from 5 to as much as 20 minutes. Outside of that window, the person usually returns to normal thinking. By having my bolts under somebody else’s control, I am prevented from acting on my impulse. On my better days, I can take my rifles to the range and enjoy them. No rights threatened. Nobody has made this a requirement for VA treatment. They will not refuse treatment if you refuse to disclose your ownership of firearms. It seems the author of this piece is driving his own agenda. As for me, I know what the deal is since I helped to develop some of the VA’s suicide prevention program training and had direct access to the research.

    1. What agenda do you think the author is driving at? Is protecting our constitution considered an agenda? How do you protect your home and family when your guns are rendered useless. Are you really under the impression that the VA wont share your info with the federal government who might view you as a potential security risk and seize your defensive weapons? You seem to have an enormous amount of faith in our current administration.

  5. Nonsense! With the high suicide rate among veterans, and the high number of veterans who suffer from PTSD, gun control information from the VA is essential. The purpose of the VA is to PROTECT the health of our brother-and-sister veterans therefore, such actions of this federal agency is more than justified.

  6. I recently received the same letter from the VA. I don’t own any firearms but I sure as hell wouldn’t tell Obama’s idea of a VA if I did. They have no right to control our guns, and anybody who thinks otherwise is a traitorous communist pig.

  7. As both a veteran and a VAVS representative for my local VA I was also given the info on gun locks. we were also able to pick up some gun locks from the VA during one of the VA’s informational days. The VA has also handed out gun locks during veterans day on the hill and other veterans events. I do not own any guns myself but I did pick up some of the gun locks and handed them out to people I know who have small children and guns in the house.

    People can look too tightly into an item and claim “it is the president’s fault” because he wants to limit the accessibility of an item found to be dangerous. The gun locks are not a form of gun control but a device simply made so people can — as the term says — lock the firing mechanism, that is all. They do not ask what kind of weapon the device is used on. I know of several veterans posts who have also gotten the locks from the VA and use them on both their parade rifles and hand them out to people asking for them

    I have seen how easy it is for people to purchase weapons that shouldn’t be in the hands of people outside the military and claim they are for hunting. I want to know what are you hunting with a .50 cal rifle? I have not seen the heavily armored animal that you need that stopping power

    1. The heavily armored animal is known as the Tyrant. Read your history books and you will understand that many wars America has fought were to remove these animals when they were able to do away with rule of law and prevent interference by depriving the citizenry of arms. Can’t happen here? That’s what they said.

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