Obama Administration Looks to Deny Firearm Purchases through the Social Security Administration

The Obama administration’s new gun control measures would strip some Social Security recipients of their Second Amendment rights. A new proposed regulation would use information from the Social Security Administration to determine whether an individual will be allowed to buy a gun!socialsecuritycards1-e1462484785400

Under the proposed regulation, the Social Security Administration would identify any individuals who were “adjudicated as mentally defective,” for the purposes of the 4473 Firearm Purchasing Form. The problem is this term is incredibly broad; while it includes people who have been found in a courtroom to be mentally incompetent or committed to a mental health institution against their will, it also includes anyone “unable to manage one’s own affairs.”

There is no exact definition for “unable to manage one’s own affairs.” One of the departments that already also uses this definition, the Department of Veterans Affairs, interprets the phrase to mean anyone who has been declared incompetent to manage pension or disability payments and assigned a fiduciary. Currently, 4.2 million recipients of Social Security have their payments managed by someone else and could be affected by this new regulation. If anyone receives Social Security payments on your behalf, you could be banned from buying a gun!

Information about these potentially millions of people would be provided to the Justice Department four times a year and would be included in the F.B.I.’s NICS background check system. If a person comes up on the background check system as having a mental impairment or as being unable to manage their own affairs, they will not be allowed to exercise their Second Amendment rights.

The Social Security Administration would notify people who fall into this category that they are banned from buying or possessing a firearm under federal law. The Obama administration’s justification of this proposed regulation is that it will “plug holes” in the background check system with the goal of preventing mentally unfit individuals from obtaining firearms. However, the way the regulation is currently worded could unfairly affect millions of Americans.

This proposed regulation could discourage senior citizens from applying for financial management help for fear of losing their Second Amendment rights. It could also unfairly take away rights from those more than capable of safely and responsibly possessing a firearm who have opted to receive their Social Security payments through a representative. Luckily, Texas Congressman Sam Johnson has sponsored a bill that would prevent the agency from placing people who need financial help into the gun background check system. Do you think this law is the best way to keep firearms in the hands of responsible owners or is it government overreach that will do more harm than good?

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