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Veteran cemeteries denying rights to surviving Memorial Day mourners

Obama is secure in the knowledge that armed men committed to his protection are never far away. Those without security details are on their own.
Obama is secure in the knowledge that armed men committed to his protection are never far away. Those without security details are on their own.
Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Gun owners making plans to visit the resting places of veteran loved ones this Memorial Day weekend will be doing so under federal prohibition against exercising their rights recognized by Article II of the Bill of Rights.

“VA regulations 38 CFR 1.218 prohibit the carrying of firearms (either openly or concealed), explosives or other dangerous or deadly weapons while on VA property, except for official purposes, such as military funeral honors,” websites for individual national cemeteries advise, and that is backed up with signage stating the same at the locations. “Possession of firearms on any property under the charge and control of VA is prohibited. Offenders may be subject to a fine, removal from the premises, or arrest.”

“No person while on property shall carry firearms, other dangerous or deadly weapons, or explosives, either openly or concealed, except for official purposes,” the Code of Federal regulations mandates. “Possession of firearms, carried either openly or concealed, whether loaded or unloaded (except by Federal or State law enforcement officers on official business, $500.”

There are also rules against “[p]ossession of knives which exceed a blade length of 3 inches,"and even “unauthorized possession of any of the variety of incapacitating liquid or gas-emitting weapons” is forbidden.

“Conduct in violation of the rules and regulations ... subjects an offender to arrest and removal from the premises,” visitors are warned. “Whomever shall be found guilty ... is subject to a fine. Violations ... may also subject an offender to a term of imprisonment of not more than six months...”

It seems a curious attitude for the government to impose on the living, particularly on ground established to memorialize those who risked, and sometimes gave all in defense of freedom and the Constitution they swore an oath to uphold. As those enforcing the rules can provide no actual evidence that depriving citizens of rights is either compelling or that they are Constitutionally-authorized to mandate it and override “shall not be infringed,” it would appear to be one of those “null and void” regulations the government is so bent on imposing.

Veterans in particular have been dishonored enough in recent years, from the criminal and sometimes fatal manner those in need of medical care have been neglected, to having special efforts made to prohibit them from owning guns, to some in militarized “law enforcement” portraying them as domestic terrorists in waiting.

There is no legitimate reason the government, or gun rights opponents, for that matter, can give that should supersede the rights of veteran survivors. While we absolutists would prefer to see all bans immediately lifted, realistically, that is not going to happen without effort and support that do not appear to be forthcoming. That said, as was the case with National Parks, there is no reason why military cemeteries should not defer to the laws of the state in which they exist.

Perhaps one of the national gun rights groups can rally its supporters to contact members of Congress to pass legislation that makes this so, with the simple message that the dead who fought for freedom did so for the living. Then what remains to be seen is if any of those representatives, who are more than happy to accept “A” ratings” and gun owner donations and support, will have the sense of obligation to the honored dead, and to those they fought for, and the political courage to lead this charge to victory.


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Isn’t it a little early to be talking about the 2014 elections? Not if you want to win. My latest GUNS Magazine "Rights Watch" column is online, and you can read it well before the issue hits the stands. Click here to read "Get Out The Vote -- Especially Your Own!


My latest JPFO alert notes a whole lot of projection going on. See “Author, Hollywood screenwriter and veteran says he could kill again over guns” and witness homicidal rage from someone “in the business” who doesn’t want you to have a gun.