VA merges with ATF?

Please bear with me as this article is going to get confusing but should be clear by the end. Also, my journalism professor taught me to always identify acronyms: VA is Veterans Affairs and ATF is the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms bureau.

I received this notice from the VA:

My fellow veterans will always remember the day the government issued us a weapon…taught us how to use and care for it…and threatened a court martial if we lost it. Some of us maintained our familiarity with weapons by obtaining a concealed carry permit and frequented a gun range to maintain our proficiency.

Citing federal law, the VA warns that weapons are no longer permitted on VA property including concealed weapons. They further state that “their” police will confiscate any weapon found on “their” property.

I wrote a letter to James Byrne, general counsel for the VA, and asked for the identification of the federal law and the identity of the author of the regulation cited in the notice. I received this reply (along with a stack of printouts) from Suzanna Hill, also known as the OGC Deputy Law Librarian:

Digging into the stack of printouts, I found the issue date of September 16, 2015 and the admonishment that the rules and regulations cited were to be posted in a conspicuous place on the property.

Almost four years after the regulations were “supported by Congress as the responsible party”, I received this brief notice that was supposed to be posted in a conspicuous place on VA property.

Somehow the VA will be able to detect a “concealed” weapon and “their” police can search my person and vehicle without a warrant in order to find the prohibited weapon(s) on “their” property. The fine for detection or finding said weapon(s) is $500.00.

Should you opt for a lesser transgression covered by the regulations, the fine for unlawful sexual activity is half that. But don’t even think about giving that bottle of wine to your favorite VA care giver as the fine goes back up to $500.00…unless you present it somewhere away from “their” property.

Makes you wonder if they should also post the definitions of unlawful sexual activity.

There’s also the question of when the VA purchased “their” property from the tax paying veterans. I also wonder where “their” police are hiding and whether they are issued uniforms and carry weapons to enforce these regulations.

But Wait! There’s more!

I received the following from Patrick J. Kelly, director of the Minneapolis VA health Care System:

I contacted Mr. Kelly with the following question:

Did you mean the use of…or the physical presence of…?

Thanks for your attention to this clarification.
I look forward to your answer.

His letter also suggested six programs to reduce or quit my use of tobacco products.

As far as my health…it is excellent and I’m in better physical condition than a lot of people half my age (I’m a few months from my 80th birthday).

I have a collection of pipes from around the world, some with great sentimental value. My tobacco is a special blend formulated for me by a tobacconist in Knoxville, TN.

I thoroughly enjoy smoking my pipes and the rituals fellow pipe smokers are familiar with.

Here’s where it gets interesting:

I moved to Minnesota from Arizona where you were not required to apply for permission to carry a weapon. Also, the VFW Post (I’m a Life Member) allowed smoking in the bar where I enjoyed my pipe and received favorable comments about the pleasant aroma of the tobacco.

In Minnesota, I had to apply for permission to buy a weapon and then pay for classes before I could apply for a concealed carry permit. The local VFW Post here does not allow smoking.

I do hope Mr. Kelly replies that he meant use of tobacco products…BUT

Should he treat tobacco in the same manner as guns…we’re off and running again on the regulations and responsibility for the authorship questions.

I’m not sure why the sudden interest of the VA in guns but offer the following to mitigate their concerns.

The following may also provide some balance to the question of smoking…although Mr. Kelly was specific about tobacco…

Does make you wonder what would happen if a veteran lit up a joint on VA “property” and produced a medical card for inspection by the VA police.

I think you can see where I’m confused about the role of the VA and the ATF. I hope they get their act together before a politician offers additional assistance. We’ve already seen where that leads.

Final note: I’m a disabled combat veteran and have found the VA care givers to be an outstanding group of people. The key is to get past the bureaucrats so those care givers can do what they do so well. Also wonder how much of the care giver’s time is spent in classes to hear about the regulations.

fns 6.2.2019