The Information Net last week mentioned that the Government would be requiring doctors to ask anyone who is on Medicare if they own a gun. There was also mention of VA nurses asking three questions that could, if answered incorrectly, result in the loss of his/her concealed gun carry permit. Both of these have been proven to be untrue.
In the former case, although some doctors (particularly pediatricians) may ask their patients whether they have guns at home, there is no provision of Medicare regulations that requires them to do so; it’s purely an individual initiative on the part of various doctors.
The National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) has also issued a statement regarding the latter case affecting veterans.
A widely circulated email, allegedly from a “Vietnam vet and retired police officer,” claims he visited a Department of Veterans Affairs clinic and was asked several mental health questions. The message goes on to claim that the nurse told him a “wrong” answer would be “reported … to Homeland Security” and result in the loss of his Right-to-Carry permit.
Fortunately for veterans, that warning was incorrect. It’s true that mental health questions are now standard procedure during the patient intake process at VA facilities. That’s a result of heightened concern about post-traumatic stress disorder and similar legitimate issues affecting veterans.
However, the Department of Homeland Security isn’t the agency that compiles records of people who are prohibited from possessing firearms. The FBI does that, in order to operate the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. And although some VA records are reported to NICS, a record will only be reported if the person has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” — in other words, that the person is mentally incompetent.
At the VA, a person can only be found incompetent after a lengthy process that includes the opportunity for a hearing and appeal. Just telling a nurse you feel “stressed” (as the email claims) wouldn’t be enough. And the NICS Improvement Amendment Act of 2007 not only makes clear that any “adjudication” without those procedures won’t result in the loss of gun rights, but also provides a way for those who have been found incompetent to get the finding reversed.