While there has been much discussion and debate recently concerning actions which might be taken by anti-gunners in Congress, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) has made "adjustments" to their interpretation of laws regarding "mental defects." ATF is actively encouraging state Attorneys General to enhance their reporting of persons who fall under the new, broader definitions to the National Instant Check System (NICS) to bar them from ever purchasing or possessing firearms. Shockingly, the NRA and the National Shooting Sports Foundation are both supporting and encouraging ATF's efforts.
The impact of this "adjustment" could be devastating to thousands of people around the country. According to ATF and NICS, a mentally ill person can never recover. There is no path for restoration of gun rights once they have been denied on the basis of mental problems.
My latest Knox Report (attached as a Word document and appended), which was written before I discovered the ATF letter linked below, looks at the problems in more detail. The column addresses issues occurring in Virginia, however under this broadened definition, thousands of healthy, functional citizens will be barred from gun ownership for life. This could include anyone ever ordered to attend an alcohol treatment program after a drunk driving arrest, any soldiers ordered to undergo treatment after the trauma of battle… And once barred, there is no way to restore their rights.
We all need to take immediate action!
Contact your Governor and your Attorney General and tell them that there is a problem with the push for opening mental health records. Ask them to pause before taking any action that would give the federal government more personal information about citizens. Ask them to demand a reasonable path to restoration of rights before agreeing to any increase in reporting.
Contact your local and national veterans' organizations to let them know how this is going to particularly impact their comrades. Our soldiers must not be victimized again!
Contact your local mental health advocacy organizations. For not only can this draconian action threaten the rights of people who have successfully dealt with behavioral or emotional issues, it could prevent people who need help from seeking it for fear of a lifetime of lost rights.
Post this alert and the accompanying article on firearms related forums and blogs to help spread the word about this bureaucratic attack on our rights.
And please help us build a strong defense against this unfair and dangerous policy by making a financial contribution to the Firearms Coalition.
Those of you who have known us for many years know that we do not deal in the hype and hysteria that many groups do in their efforts to raise funds. We have a reputation for clear reporting and analysis without exaggeration or distortion as well as a low-key fundraising style. Knowing that, I encourage you to be alarmed about this issue! Take Action! Write Letters! Spread the Word! And help us to fight this tyranny by making as generous a contribution as you can.
We Need Your Help Now.
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The Firearms Coalition
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Read the ATF letter to AG's at:
or in the press area of the ATF web site at: www.ATF.Treas.gov