Late last week President Obama launched a new push for additional federal “smart” gun technology financing. After hitting headlines and much attention, the move got praise from gun control organizations like Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown and criticism from law enforcement, the NRA and the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
But a problem flying under the radar in Obama’s story is the Administration’s choice to move forward with gun control measures through the Social Security system. Late last year it had become obvious if an individuals needs financial help managing Social Security benefits, the agency can regard that individual mentally unsuitable to purchase a firearm. This policy is already in place at the Veteran’s Administration, where folks who have been issued a “representative payee” have been completely placed into the NICS background check system as ineligible to buy a firearm without due process, a hearing or a trial. As background from the LA Times:
Seeking tighter controls over firearm purchases, the Obama administration is pushing to ban Social Security beneficiaries from owning guns if they lack the mental capacity to manage their own affairs, a move that could affect millions whose monthly disability payments are handled by others.
The push is intended to bring the Social Security Administration in line with laws regulating who gets reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, which is used to prevent gun sales to felons, drug addicts, immigrants in the country illegally and others.
A potentially large group within Social Security are people who, in the language of federal gun laws, are unable to manage their own affairs due to “marked subnormal intelligence, or mental illness, incompetency, condition, or disease.”
There is no simple way to identify that group, but a strategy used by the Department of Veterans Affairs since the creation of the background check system is reporting anyone who has been declared incompetent to manage pension or disability payments and assigned a fiduciary.
If Social Security, which has never participated in the background check system, uses the same standard as the VA, millions of its beneficiaries would be affected. About 4.2 million adults receive monthly benefits that are managed by “representative payees.”
The move is part of a concerted effort by the Obama administration after the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., to strengthen gun control, including by plugging holes in the background check system.
A week ago, the Obama administration reiterated options to push for policies in the Social Security Administration to place those who require a representative payee into the NICS no-buy background check system, stripping their Second Amendment rights without due process.
The Obama administration also posted online Friday a proposed regulation from the Social Security Administration that officials believe could help keep guns out of the hands of people who are not allowed to own a firearm because of mental illness.
A summary of the draft proposal said the Social Security Administration would identify people who receive disability payments because of mental impairment or because they are not competent to handle their own affairs, and would provide information on them to the Justice Department four times a year to include in the F.B.I.’s gun-purchase review system. The Social Security Administration would also notify those people — thought to total about 75,000 — that they are banned from buying or possessing a firearm under federal law.
Requiring help to manage one’s finances is not mental illness, even though the White House is classifying it as such.
The utilize of the Social Security system to strip elderly folks of their Second Amendment rights when they apply for financial management assistance is alarming and legislation has been presented to stop it.
The Social Security Beneficiary 2nd Amendment Rights Protection Act, sponsored by Texas Congressman Sam Johnson, could protect against the agency from placing those who require financial help into the gun background check system. The legislation is waiting for a vote in Congress.
For now, the Obama administration is utilizing federal agencies to implement unfair, unconstitutional policies that take away the Second Amendment rights of tens-of-thousands of Social Security recipients.