Priest River community stands up for veteran facing gun seizure

UPDATE: North Idaho veteran John Arnold found himself in the middle of a political firestorm Thursday afternoon. The vet suffered a stroke and, under the Brady Handgun Act, was found to be mentally incompetent to own a firearm by Veteran Affairs.

The Brady Handgun act is a system for determining if prospective firearms buyers can buy that gun. Part of the Brady act utilizes a system called the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. It instantly alerts a seller if a potential buyer is a felon, or has otherwise been flagged and can't legally buy the gun.

The NICS is constantly updated with new people appearing on it all the time. A name can also be manually added in emergency situations by, for example, mental health care providers, police departments or family members requesting placement of an individual into the NICS system.

That is what happened in this case. John Arnold's name was added to the NICS list by a mental health professional. When the list was updated and his name showed up, he was in jeopardy of losing his weapons. Until Rep. Heather Scott, and many others stepped in. At one point there are dozens of people in front of Arnold's home protesting what they called a violation of Arnold's rights.

Bonner County Sheriff Daryl Wheeler also stood up for Arnold's rights. He told a VA rep that his office would stop any inspection and attempt at a weapons seizure.

Around 1:30pm, the VA announced it would not be conducting an inspection of Arnold's home.

Previous Coverage: 

Idaho Representative for District One, Heather Scott, is planning a protest Thursday in Priest River. The protest has to do with an assessment letter Representative Scott says she received about a veteran being stripped of his right to own a gun.

This is a message Rep. Scott posted on her Facebook page:

Time to Stand against Gun Confiscation in North Idaho!

Based on an assessment of a letter I received, I believe that the Department of Veterans Affairs is coming to a veteran’s home in Priest River today to check for and confiscate his guns based on nothing more than a stroke which has left him with some mild physical impairment.

If you feel, as I do, that our veterans should not be treated like 3rd class citizens or common criminals, please join me between 9am and noon at the Congregational Church parking lot on HWY 2 to stand with this Veteran and show that the citizens of Bonner & Boundary County will stand firm on this issue.

KHQ's Victor Correa is on his way to Priest River. Look for details throughout the day and tonight on KHQ Local News at 5pm.

Recommended for you