Many restaurants and stores offer discounts for veterans, but what’s stopping someone from claiming to be a veteran when they’re not?
Some at the Capitol are trying to put a stop to those criminals who are impersonating America’s heroes.
“I’ve heard that it’s come up a couple times, but I did not know that it was getting kind of a prevalent problem,” says Ryan Hubbard, who served in the Navy for years and finds it disrespectful that people are impersonating veterans to gain a profit.
“But, to say that we have to come up with another way to charge someone with a crime because they’re out there doing that, it’s a little bit heartbreaking,” he adds.
A Federal law, called the Stolen Valor Act, makes it a crime for people to pass themselves off as war heroes by wearing medals they didn’t rightfully earn.
“In the past, there’s been people misidentifying themselves, not so much to purchase something in the store, but to get a bigger story, where it’s something they supposedly did while they served somewhere,” says Senator Laura Murphy (D). She says there needs to be a statewide initiative to prevent people from obtaining discounts at stores or restaurants.
“So, this makes it a misdemeanor offense and currently, federal law does, but no state law ever defined it as a misdemeanor,” she adds.
Murphy’s bill would fine people up to $200. She says the main goal is to prevent abuse and fraud.
“We don’t want anyone to impersonate a veteran and take away from the service and sacrifice that they made.”
It’s currently up to the merchant’s discretion if they give someone a discount or not. Some stores ask for proof and others do not.
The bill passed the Senate and now heads to the House.
One law which did pass last year makes it easier for veterans to show proof of service. He or she can apply to have the word “veteran” on their driver’s license.