BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A group of residents in northern Idaho lined up outside a U.S. Navy veteran’s house on Thursday to protest claims that federal officials are planning on confiscating the man’s weapons.
Idaho Republican state Rep. Heather Scott of Blanchard said the Veteran Affairs office has sent a letter to John Arnold of Priest River warning him that he cannot possess or purchase firearms.
The protest, spearheaded by Scott, attracted roughly 100 people. Among them were Bonner County Sheriff Daryl Wheeler, who promised to stand guard against any federal attempts to remove Arnold’s guns, and Republican WA Rep. Matthew Shea of Spokane Valley, who described the event as a “defiance against tyranny.”
“I took an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution and uphold the laws of Idaho,” Wheeler said. “This seemed appropriate to show my support. I was going to make sure Mr. Arnold’s rights weren’t going to be breached.”
During Thursday’s demonstration, the group at times broke out in song to sing “God Bless America” and pray while waving both the American flag and the “Don’t tread on me” flag. With a population of just 1,700, Priest River is near the tip of northern Idaho- a region known for its strong tea party roots and gun-rights activism.
Veteran Affairs spokesman Bret Bowers confirmed a letter had been sent to Arnold from the VA’s benefits office in Salt Lake City, but he said that VA policy prohibits discussing individual health records without consent. Bowers added that the agency doesn’t have the authority to confiscate weapons. “We don’t send officers to confiscate weapons. We are about providing health care to veterans,” he said.
Currently, the Veterans Affairs Department can bar veterans from purchasing guns if they are declared incompetent. However, this authority has been criticized by Second Amendment advocates. Most recently, Republican U.S. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas proposed legislation that would require court action before barring gun purchases by veterans declared incompetent.
The VA says they don’t confiscate weapons, but how would anyone know to do that if they hadn’t been ordered to do so? They may not directly confiscate guns, but it’s obvious they instructed someone to do it.
We posted a piece earlier detailing how the VA is prohibiting veterans from purchasing guns for the flimsiest of reasons such as having someone help them with their finances.
We also posted an earlier piece stating the VA is disarming veterans by getting them placed on the FBI’s criminal background-check list. The VA sends veterans’ medical and financial information directly to the FBI and the ATF, which can seize their guns in home raids.
One guess who was coming for his guns.