LITTLE ROCK (KFSM) — An Arkansas representative filed a bill on Tuesday (Feb. 7) that would criminalize the offense of stolen valor, or impersonating a member of the United States Armed Forces or National Guard to get special benefits.
House Bill 1466, which was proposed by Rep. Trevor Drown, proposed adding criminal penalties for people who falsely claim to be part of the military in order to obtain property, services, or benefits.
If the bill passes, knowingly misrepresenting yourself as a member of the armed forces would be a class C misdemeanor, and knowingly misrepresenting that you are the recipient of certain valor awards would be a class B misdemeanor.
On Feb. 1 House Bill 1064 was signed into law, which added impersonating a member of the United States Armed Forces or National Guard to the list of criminal impersonations.
Acts that would qualify as a class C misdemeanor under HB1466 include:
- Using false military identification
- Pretending to be an active member or veteran
- Falsely claiming to be the recipient of a military decoration, medal, badge, award, or qualification
- Pretending to be a prisoner of war
- Pretending to suffer medical or mental problems sustained from serving in the armed forces.
Falsely claiming to have earned one of the following would be categorized as a B misdemeanor:
- Medal of Honor
- Distinguished Service Cross
- Navy Cross
- Air Force Cross
- Silver Star Medal
- Purple Heart
- Combat Infantryman Badge
- Combat Action Badge
- Combat Medical Badge
- Combat Action Ribbon
- Combat Action Medal
Additionally, the bill proposes that any fines collected through these regulations should be used by the Department of Veterans Affairs to be used to operate the veteran’s homes.