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Monday, May 2, 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.