Feinstein exempts police, not "PTSD" vets from gun ban

Feinstein exempts retired police from weapons ban, but not veterans due to Photo: Senator Dianne Feinstein

DALLAS, March 7th, 2013 – U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) offered an amendment to exempt all U.S. military personnel and veterans from a proposed ban on “assault weapons”. The committee briefly discussed the future of American gun ownership.

Cornyn highlighted the contradiction and inequality of the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013. The sponsors had deemed assault weapons too dangerous for civilian self-defensive purchase over safety and training concerns. But under the Feinstein Law, government employees and retired law enforcement are exempt from the assault weapons ban while hundreds of millions of Americans are not.


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Coryn questioned this unnecessary, peculiar new division of property rights and self-defense. An entire new market would emerge from such a ban. If American history of the 21st century proves correct, violence would skyrocket. This congressional edict creates a foreign set of powerful rules for equal Americans. 

“Is it because we [the Senate] believe they [only retired police] have some special competency and training to use these weapons to defend themselves and others, or do we think their families are worthy of special protection?”

The Senator clarified his belief that Americans must determine how best to defend their homes and communities. “If you don’t believe these weapons can be used lawfully for self-defense, then you should be offering an amendment to strike the pass for law enforcement. But of course, I don’t expect that,” Cornyn said to Feinstein and the co-sponsors.

In response to his amendment Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), a notorious proponent of gun control, demonstrated a rather callous disregard for the 1.8 million veterans residing in California, and a fundamental misunderstanding of mental health issues.


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“The problem with expanding this is that, you know, with the advent of PTSD, which I think is a new phenomenon as a product of the Iraq War, it’s not clear how the seller or transfer of a firearm covered by this bill would verify that an individual was a member or veteran and there was no impairment of that individual with respect to having a weapon like this.

I think you have to – if you’re going to do this, find a way that veterans who are incapacitated for one reason or another mentally, don’t have access to this kind of weapon,” the Senator said.

Between the congressional failure to manage veteran’s services and discriminatory statements, veterans feel attacked by the same lawmakers that sent them into combat. Inconceivable bills entrusting a veteran’s Second Amendment rights to the incompetent VA and the Department of Homeland security asserting veterans are terrorist threats stirs distrust of government officials’ intentions.


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“As a combat veteran, I will not be lumped in with convicted felons, murders, and rapists, nor should I be. Combat veterans, especially those with combat related PTSD, put our butts on the line for our freedoms. We won’t be thrown under the bus!” said a poster in an online forum.

“But if the PTSD vet becomes a cop, then he’s exempt, right? Because PTSD magically goes away when you put on a different uniform? Why is there no accountability for the ignorance these senators have been proposing? Our rights have no stipulations,” said another veteran.

Post-Traumatic Stress is a condition naturally resulting from trauma exposure and not exclusive to American military servicemembers. An estimated 8% of Americans will experience PTSD. Women are twice as likely as men to develop symptoms and seven million U.S adults (3.6%) have PTSD during the course of a given year.

Intense feelings of fear, helplessness and stress patients endure can be caused by physical, emotional, sexual abuse, or drug addiction. Exposure to occupational horror, violence, grief or trauma, including law enforcement, medical professionals, emergency workers and soldiers, can all cause PTSD. PTSD is a natural, human response to tragedy or suffering.

These weapons in question are owned by millions of law-abiding Americans, and are no more lethal than millions of firearms that would remain legal after an “assault weapons ban”. They fire at the same bullet-per-trigger-pull rate and speed as the average semi-automatic and revolver, while many hunting rifles are more dangerous. They are used in roughly 1% of crimes. 

Denying rights for some special entities of Americans based on prejudices while advocating the same rights be extended to another group that may also share these impairments demonstrates and unacceptable level of bigotry toward American veterans, a disregard for our system of law, which does not pronounce anyone guilty, until proven guilty.

Any American, whether veteran or otherwise, that is ruled mentally deficient by a court of law, is currently forbidden from purchasing firearms. A dishonorable discharge, a criminal record and various other restrictions exist to prevent criminals from owning firearms. Insinuating that 22 million law-abiding American veterans cannot sell, trade or buy certain types of highly popular weapons because they may be “impaired” demonstrates an unacceptable disregard for their service to the American government.

In his closing remarks, Senator Cornyn clarified that America’s veterans “are the most highly trained and qualified individuals to own these weapons for self-defense”. He encouraged the Senate to “properly consider disarming them from protecting families and communities.”

The amendment failed 9-9, but Feinstein agreed they could “sit down to see if they can work something out.” The committee reconvenes next week. The Assault Weapons Ban of 2013 is being prepped for Senate debates. To reach your representatives to express your opinion on this matter, let them hear what’s on your mind.



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Tiffany Madison

Tiffany is a writer and veteran's advocate. Her column focuses on civil liberties, veteran's issues and current events. You can follow her on Twitter @tiffanymadisonFacebook or her website.

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