Overhaul proposed for military impostor law

By DAN ELLIOTT | May 12, 2011 | 1:15 PM EDT

DENVER (AP) — A Nevada congressman has proposed rewriting a law that makes it illegal to lie about being a war hero, even as an appeals court in Denver considers whether the original version is unconstitutional.

Republican U.S. Rep. Joe Heck introduced a bill last week adding a requirement that an impostor reap some kind of gain to be convicted of violating the Stolen Valor Act. The current law makes it a crime merely to make a false claim about getting medals.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver heard oral arguments Thursday on whether the act is constitutional. In that case, a Colorado man claimed he was awarded medals after serving as a Marine in Iraq. His lawyers have acknowledged that wasn't true.

The law has also been challenged in California.