Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

Social Security Administration Releases Proposed Rulemaking on Disability-Related Gun Ban

Friday, April 29, 2016

Social Security Administration Releases Proposed Rulemaking on Disability-Related Gun Ban

On Friday, the Social Security Administration (SSA) released a draft of a proposed rulemaking that would supposedly bring the agency into compliance with what it claims is its responsibility to report prohibited persons to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The proposal focuses on five factors to determine if certain SSA recipients receiving Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) have been “adjudicated as a mental defective” and are therefore federally prohibited from possessing or receiving firearms. It would also create an administrative procedure for affected individuals to petition for restoration of their rights. The proposed rule will remain open for public comment for 60 days. 

We have been reporting since last summer on the Obama administration’s plan to use SSA as a basis to strip Americans of their Second Amendment rights. Concerns were initially raised by a report in the Los Angeles Times that SSA would follow the lead of the Department of Veterans Affairs by broadly reporting all beneficiaries receiving payments whose funds were disbursed to another individual on the beneficiary’s behalf. This prompted congressional inquiries, to which SSA replied that the plan would not apply to all beneficiaries assigned representative payees. The agency did not, however, elaborate on who would be included, and it did not rule out using the assignment of a representative payee as a consideration in determining who was reportable.

SSA’s intentions have now been made public. As outlined in the proposal, SSA would use five factors to determine which of its Disability Insurance or SSI recipients have been “adjudicated” by the agency as “mental defectives.” 

The first factor is whether the individual filed his or her claim with SSA based on disability. Thus, merely receiving retirement benefits from SSA would not trigger further action.

The second factor would require the agency to determine which individuals have “been found disabled based on a finding that the individual’s impairment(s) meets or medically equals the requirements of one of the Mental Disorders Listing of Impairments” set forth in SSA rules. Those disorders cover a broad range of conditions, including but not limited to organic mental disorders, intellectual disabilities, anxiety-related disorders, personality disorders, substance addiction, and autism and other developmental disorders. Symptoms of these disorders can range from outright incoherence or hallucination to milder presentations such as sleep or appetite disturbances, decreased energy, or even “inflated self-esteem.”

The third factor is whether the individual has “a primary diagnosis code in [SSA’s] records based on a mental impairment.” According to the proposal, “The primary diagnosis refers to the basic condition that renders an individual disabled” under relevant SSA rules.

The fourth factor focuses on the individual’s age, specifically on whether he or she is at least 18 years old but has not yet attained full retirement age.

Factor five is whether the agency has determined the beneficiary’s payments are to be made through a representative payee based on a determination that he or she is incapable of managing them as a result of marked subnormal intelligence, or mental illness, incompetency, condition or disease.

If all five of these factors are met, the individual would be reported to NICS as a “mental defective” and banned (presumably for life) from receiving or possessing firearms. 

The rule would also allow affected individuals to petition for restoration of rights. Under its terms, relief from Second Amendment disabilities “may” be granted if the individual could “establish to [SSA’s] satisfaction that the circumstances regarding the disability, and the applicant's record and reputation, are such that the applicant will not be likely to act in a manner dangerous to public safety, and that the granting of the relief would not be contrary to the public interest.”

Overall, while the proposal is not as drastic as many initially feared and is procedurally more narrowly-tailored than the indefensible procedures of the Veteran’s Administration (VA), it still raises substantial cause for concern. Far more people are potentially implicated in the SSA regime than in VA’s regime because of the broader reach of SSA’s programs. The White House itself estimates that some 75,000 each year could be affected, with no upper limit or end in sight. And while SSA’s procedures at least consider (unlike VA’s) whether the underlying basis of disability is a mental impairment, those impairments cover a range of conditions, from those that might increase a tendency toward aggressive or self-destructive behavior to those that won’t. 

Indeed, at no point in the actual “adjudication” is the individual’s propensity for violence a necessary consideration. Rather, the question ultimately devolves to whether or not the individual has any sort of mental condition and can responsibly handle money, which is not a fair basis to strip someone of their constitutional rights. The procedures established for relief, moreover, lack adequate due process and do not even allow the petitioner the opportunity for an administrative hearing. 

From beginning to end, in fact, SSA’s process makes no provision whatsoever for the individual to attend a formal hearing before an adjudicative authority, to put forth their own experts, or to cross-examining adverse witnesses. It only involves anonymous bureaucrats reviewing documents in a government-compiled file. That is hardly the process most Americans would consider an adjudication, and certainly not one sufficient to strip someone of fundamental liberties.

Ultimately, SSA’s rulemaking highlights the need for systemic changes to the federal laws concerning when mental illness results in a person being prohibited from possessing and receiving firearms. Financial acumen, even if related to an underlying issue with sleep disturbances or inflated self-esteem, has no necessary relationship to a propensity for violence, and it’s not a sufficient basis to strip persons of their inalienable right to self-defense. This is exactly why NRA is supporting corrective legislation, including the Mental Health and Safe Communities Act of 2015, the Social Security Beneficiary 2nd Amendment Rights Protection Act, and the Veterans 2nd Amendment Protection Act.

In the meantime, comments may be submitted on the SSA rulemaking in several ways:

  • Via the online Federal eRulemaking portal at  https://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=SSA-2016-0011-0001
  • Via facsimile at (410) 966-2830; or
  • By sending them through the mail to NICS Comments, Social Security Administration, 3100 West High Rise Building, 6401 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, Maryland 21235–6401.
TRENDING NOW

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Florida Alert: YETI Drops NRA Foundation

For years YETI Coolers have been a hot item for sportsmen at the Friends of NRA Foundation Banquet and Auction events around the country.  Suddenly, without prior notice, YETI has declined to do business with The ...

News  

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

ALERT ! YETI Adds Insult to Injury

If it wasn’t bad enough that YETI dropped The NRA Foundation as a client, now they’re calling us liars because we informed our members and friends of their actions.  

Dick’s Sporting Goods/Field & Stream to Destroy Firearms Inventory

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, April 20, 2018

Dick’s Sporting Goods/Field & Stream to Destroy Firearms Inventory

Dick’s Sporting Goods took their campaign to alienate law-abiding gun owners to an extraordinary new level last week. The beleaguered retailer announced that in addition to removing certain types of semi-automatic rifles from their stores, the company ...

NRA Statement on Passage of the National Defense Authorization Act

News  

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

NRA Statement on Passage of the National Defense Authorization Act

National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action executive director, Chris W. Cox, released the following statement on Tuesday regarding President Donald Trump's signature on the National Defense Authorization Act

California: Legislation Requiring Background Checks on Barrels and Other Parts Up For Hearing!

Sunday, April 22, 2018

California: Legislation Requiring Background Checks on Barrels and Other Parts Up For Hearing!

Several pro- and anti-gun bills are scheduled to be heard in their respective committees on Monday, April 23 and Tuesday, April 24.  Please contact the members of the respective committee and urge them to SUPPORT ...

Another Group of Anti-Gun Celebrities Forms!  In Other News, The Sun Rose Today.

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, April 20, 2018

Another Group of Anti-Gun Celebrities Forms! In Other News, The Sun Rose Today.

In case you were worried there were not enough anti-gun organizations working to eradicate the rights of law-abiding gun owners, a new one has formed, and it’s called NoRA.  Get it?  The name implies that the ...

Keep Calm and Carry On: Pro-Gun Sentiment Reasserts Itself in Wake of Antigun Blitz

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, April 20, 2018

Keep Calm and Carry On: Pro-Gun Sentiment Reasserts Itself in Wake of Antigun Blitz

Like the long-delayed coming of spring to the Mid-Atlantic, evidence is appearing that Americans are regaining their senses and reverting to an instinctual embrace of freedom after a withering barrage of some the nastiest and most ugly ...

Illinois: Senate to Consider Overriding Veto on Dealer Licensing Bills

Monday, April 23, 2018

Illinois: Senate to Consider Overriding Veto on Dealer Licensing Bills

With the April 25th deadline approaching, the Illinois state Senate is expected soon to consider overriding Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto on legislation that would drive your local gun stores out of business with onerous red tape ...

Delaware: Mandatory Gun Storage Legislation to be Heard in Committee Today

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Delaware: Mandatory Gun Storage Legislation to be Heard in Committee Today

Today, the House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to consider anti-gun House Bill 366.

Minnesota: Two Anti-Gun Amendments to be Introduced and Considered Tomorrow

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Minnesota: Two Anti-Gun Amendments to be Introduced and Considered Tomorrow

Tomorrow, anti-gun state Senator Ron Latz is expected to introduce two gun control amendments to the Senate Judiciary Omnibus finance bill on the Senate floor.

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.