An Iraq war veteran who tried to purchase a rifle recently in New Jersey, discovered that he “cannot” legally own a firearm. 61-year-old, Victor Welshans, was surprised to learn that he’s in the National Instant Criminal Background Check (NICS) system. Why was he so surprised? Well, Welshans has never been convicted of a crime. His problems illustrate many of the complaints that gun owners have had for years about the broken NICS. It proves that some of the latest efforts in Congress to “fix” the system will only break it some more.
New Jersey Man Fails Background Check
According to PennLive, Welshans served in the Army back in the 1970s and has remained in the Reserves since then. His unit was called up and deployed to Iraq in 2003. In 2004, he received a commendation medal for his service. Recently, Welshans went in to purchase a rifle. His reason? To plink the groundhogs that have been tearing up his garden. However, he failed the background check.
It turns out that Welshans spent four days in a mental hospital back in 1999 when he was suffering from depression. He voluntarily checked himself in at the hospital, at his wife’s urging. After four days, the physician who treated him wrote on his discharge that Welshans was not a danger to himself or to anyone else.
Mentally Ill and Firearms – There’s Already a Law for That
Certain Members of Congress have been pushing for “new” gun control laws for years that will “keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill.” That’s why many people will look at that as a surprise when you tell them that there’s already a law that does that: 18 USC 922. If someone has been depicted as mentally ill, it’s unlawful for them to own a firearm or ammunition. It’s also illegal for those to sell them a gun. They will be put in the NICS system after their due process rights are observed and the courts and doctors determine that they are, in fact, a danger to themselves or others. It’s not a perfect system, but it does recognize the rights of the individual and observe due process. This is why gun-grabbers hate the law so much and want to “fix” it.
Victor Welshans – His Rights Were Violated
Victor Welshans was never profiled as mentally ill. He remained in the Army Reserves and went to war for his country for two years after he was hospitalized. Although, He’s never been convicted of a crime. It looks like the state of New Jersey may have somehow obtained his private medical records and submitted his name to the NICS out of an abundance of anti-gun caution. It appears as though, his medical privacy rights and his Second Amendment rights have been violated by overzealous state officials.
What Can we Hope For
Lastly, this raises questions for people who have received treatment for non-violent mental health issues. For example, can you end up in the NICS without your knowledge for seeing a marriage counselor? How many more states are violating individuals’ private medical rights to have them placed in the NICS?
Hopefully a gun-rights attorney will go to bat for Victor Welshans to help him restore his gun rights — and to get some answers to some of these questions for us.