BELLEVUE, WA – As the U.S. Senate considers H.R. 2640, the NICS (National Instant Check System) Improvement Act of 2007, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms is again calling for full funding of “restoration of rights/relief from disabilities” investigations that are part of the legislation to help military veterans get their names removed from the NICS database, when those names should never have been on that list in the first place.
CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb noted, “Our position is quite clear on this legislation. The Department of Veterans Affairs should be required to removed the names of some 83,000 veterans that it entered into the NICS system during the Clinton Administration, for what the media have identified as ‘alleged mental health reasons.’ This was an egregious wrong that must be corrected. Soldiers should not have to petition or pay for that.
“It should also be up to the government,” he added, “to remove the names of persons who have been entered into the NICS database for minor infractions that should not be disqualifiers, at no cost to the affected person.”
Mark A. Taff, CCRKBA executive director, challenged senators on both sides of the aisle to make sure this legislation does what it is supposed to do.
“Senate Republicans have an opportunity to stand up for gun rights,” he said, “and that includes restoring those rights to thousands of veterans whose names were wrongly included in the NICS database. It also includes sticking up for American citizens whose names have been wrongly entered into that database.
“Senate Democrats,” Taff said, “should guarantee that this legislation protects and enhances due process. Some 83,000 veterans’ names were added to this database arbitrarily, and that must be corrected. They have found themselves disqualified from enjoying a constitutionally-protected civil right that they fought to defend.”
Gottlieb reiterated his call for restoration of funding for “relief from disabilities” (RFD) investigations.
“Though the process remains on the books, there has been no implementing funding since 1991,” he said. “People who have a mistake in their past, but have become productive citizens cannot get their rights restored. There should be a mechanism in place to allow funding of RFD investigations, even if the petitioner pays the costs himself. If we can restore voting rights, we must have the ability to restore other civil rights.”