December 15, 2016 – A new proposed federal legislation to ban the collecting of awarded Purple Hearts currently causes a stir among collectors of these medals and US decorations in general. They consider it an infringement of their private property rights and ask collectors and fellow medal enthusiasts worldwide for their support.
The legislation’s content
In September 2016, Member of Congress Paul Cook, a Republican from California and retired Marine colonel, introduced legislation that would make it a crime to buy, sell, or trade any Purple Heart awarded to a member of the armed forces. This legislation was referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary, where it will be examined.
Purple Heart, awarded to Seaman 1st Class Joseph H. Mills who was killed in action on April 12, 1945, when his ship, the destroyer USS Mannert L. Abele, was sunk in a Japanese kamikaze attack during the battle for Okinawa.
Danger to all medal or decoration collectors
Societies of collectors of medals such as the Purple Heart fear that this legislation, once in effect, would strike at the heart of collecting these items, considered a keystone of American medals collecting. In a letter addressed to all fellow collectors, Fred Borch, President of the Orders & Medals Society of America (OMSA), clearly expresses his concerns: “If Congress bans the buying and selling of Purple Hearts, there is nothing to preclude it from deciding to prohibit the buying and selling of Silver Stars, Meritorious Service Medals, or any other medal or decoration that is awarded to a soldier, sailor, airman, marine, coast guardsman or merchant mariner.”
Supported by other medals collectors’ societies, he asks committed researchers, historians, and hobbyists for their support as well. The best way for US citizens would be to copy a letter already prepared and mail it to two members of the Judiciary Committee while a third letter could go to one’s own Member of Congress in the individual congressional district.
If you want to help, please find the statement of OMSA President Fred Borch and the mentioned letter here.