Military Cemetery Gun Bans an Affront to Patriots Who Died Fighting for Freedom

“Memorial Day is a day of remembrance. We remember those no longer with us. We remember what they fought for. We remember the sacrifices they made while serving our country. Forever and always, we honor their legacy.” (IMG U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs/Facebook)

“On Memorial Day and the days leading up to it, Americans from across the country will gather at cemeteries and memorials to honor and remember the service members who sacrificed everything in defense of our nation and freedoms,” VA News announced Wednesday.

“VA is hosting ceremonies in honor of Memorial Day at VA National Cemeteries and invites everyone to join with Veterans and their families at these events taking place on and around Memorial Day weekend.”

Honoring those who “gave the last full measure of devotion” is a fitting obligation for those of us who recognize how profoundly we have benefited from the ultimate sacrifices of the fallen.

Attending memorial parades is nice, family gatherings and picnics, where expressing solemn gratitude for those who met untimely ends, is fitting, and, when feasible, visiting a VA Cemetery to place flowers, remember, and reflect is humbling and good for the soul.

However, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs bureaucracy, with the full force of the government behind it to require that we first surrender a fundamental right, is being arrogant and demeaning, both to the living and to the memories of those who never made it back to the grieving families they loved. So, if you decide to take the Department up on its invitation, just keep in mind that if you believe in the Second Amendment, you’ll either need to forfeit the right while on their premises or keep things hidden and hope you don’t get caught.

As per the Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery (where my parents rest):

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. 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.

Here’s the law in question:

Weapons and explosives. No person while on property shall carry firearms, other dangerous or deadly weapons, or explosives, either openly or concealed, except for official purposes… [Penalty for] Possession of firearms, carried either openly or concealed, whether loaded or unloaded (except by Federal or State law enforcement officers on official business, $500… Violations included in the schedule of offenses and penalties may also subject an offender to a term of imprisonment of not more than six months, as may be determined appropriate by a magistrate or judge of the United States District Court.”

“Subject to… arrest” means armed government enforcers can require you to surrender your person to them – or else. “While on VA property” means parking lots included, just like at the Post Office. That means leaving your tools of defense at home and hoping nothing makes you regret what happens on your trip to and from (it takes me 45 minutes each way) – or taking a risk and hoping you don’t get caught.

That’s one hell of a way for citizens to memorialize their gratitude for freedom!?

There is no valid reason the government can give that should supersede the rights of deceased veterans’ survivors, certainly nothing that would comply with the Bruen standard of history, text, and tradition at the time the Constitution was ratified. There is also no apparent move to rectify this infringement (what other word could be used?) with a bill from our “A-rated” Congressional representatives who rely on gun owners’ support for their positions of privilege and power (maybe you can find one).

Will one be submitted when there’ll be a chance of passage (if Republicans manage not to blow it in November)? While we absolutists would prefer to see all bans immediately lifted, realistically, that is not going to happen without effort and support that does not appear to be forthcoming. That said, as with National Parks, there is no reason military cemeteries should not defer to the laws of the state in which they exist.

And the same goes for Donald Trump, who has made a great show of recruiting our support, especially while riding high with NRA’s endorsement and his newly formed “Gun Owners for Trump” coalition. Will he call for Congress to show political courage, uphold their oaths, and pledge to sign a bill overturning the National Cemetery gun ban?

And if not, why not?

It’s not like those who already hate him will hate him – or us – more.

About David Codrea:
David Codrea is the winner of multiple journalist awards for investigating/defending the RKBA and a long-time gun owner rights advocate who defiantly challenges the folly of citizen disarmament. He blogs at “The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance,” is a regularly featured contributor to Firearms News, and posts on Twitter: @dcodrea and Facebook.

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