Gun ownership for veterans with mental health issues is a controversial topic, and it's a common point of concern we at Cuddigan Law hear often when talking to military personnel. Many fear that seeking disability for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) will prohibit them from keeping their weapons. However, it’s unlikely that a veteran diagnosed with PTSD will lose gun rights.
Misinformation and Varying Disability Ratings for PTSD
There’s a lot of misinformation about a veteran’s right to own a gun if he has PTSD, and the negative stigma of mental illness alone can prevent someone from seeking help for this valid condition.
Often, individuals suffering from PTSD are depicted as people who can barely function—a portrayal that isn't accurate, as most manage their lives well with the proper treatment.
Additionally, many veterans don’t understand there are multiple levels of PTSD, and that it’s possible to receive a 0% rating for this mental condition.
That means someone is diagnosed with PTSD, but it’s not severe enough to be compensated. Also, they can be given a rating of 10%, 30%, 50%, 70%, or 100%. Generally, veterans who are rated at 70% or less lead fairly normal lives—many have full-time jobs, spouses, and children. And they still own their guns.
A 100% Disability Rating
If you need significant medical care for your PTSD, it’s likely that the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) would give you a 100% disability rating. If this happens, it may also be likely that you'll lose your weapon. The criteria for receiving a 100% rating include:
- Total social and occupational impairment
- Hallucinations or delusions on a consistent basis
- A display of "grossly inappropriate" behavior
- A possible danger to themselves or others
- Memory loss of their name or names of relatives
- An inability to manage a normal routine, including taking care of personal hygiene
Under these conditions, a veteran would likely be rated at 100% and be unable to own a gun.
Our Experienced VA Disability Lawyers Help Veterans Nationwide Get The Disability Benefits They Deserve
If you’re a veteran who’s worried about losing your right to own a gun due to a PTSD diagnosis, or you’d like a free evaluation of your disability case, call Cuddigan Law. Our attorneys will answer your questions and ensure that you have accurate information about your gun rights and your mental health diagnosis. We understand PTSD is a debilitating mental condition that can severely and negatively impact a veteran’s life, but we also know the law about gun possession.