Senators act to stop social security administration’s backdoor gun grab

Stock image, St. George News

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Lawmakers are pushing back against a new initiative led by the Obama administration to deny certain recipients of social security access to firearms. Sen. Orrin Hatch, senior Republican in the Senate, and member and former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee joined 25 senators in calling on the U.S. Social Security Administration Tuesday to halt its plan to unfairly target the Second Amendment rights of millions of social security beneficiaries.

According to news reports, the Obama administration is preparing to provide the names of social security beneficiaries who utilize the representative payee system within the program and have a designated “payee” to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, also called NICS.  If an individual is reported to the NICS, they are instantly prohibited from purchasing a firearm from a Federal Firearm Licensee.

If finalized, the unprecedented move by the administration could arbitrarily deny millions of Americans their Second Amendment rights. According to a U.S. Government Accountability Office report, over 8 million individuals had a representative payee in 2013.

In a letter to the SSA Acting Administrator, the senators call into question the administration’s recently announced plan to begin reporting millions of social security beneficiaries to the NICS. Hatch said that flagging these individuals in the NICS database — a database designed to prevent gun sales to felons, drug addicts, illegal or unlawful immigrants and others — is unnecessary and misguided.

Hatch and the other senators wrote:

In light of SSA’s perennial complaints about lack of funding to administer its programs, it is disappointing to learn that allegedly scarce administrative resources are being devoted to an effort to deny certain beneficiaries of their rights. Old age or a disability does not make someone a threat to society. Having a representative payee should not be grounds to revoke constitutional rights.

Joining Hatch on the letter are Sens. Joe Manchin, Mike Crapo, Jim Risch, John Thune, Tom Cotton, Dean Heller, John Boozman, John Barrasso, Mike Enzi, Dan Coats, Johnny Isakson, Jerry Moran, David Vitter, Richard Burr, Jim Inhofe, Rand Paul, Jeff Sessions, Mike Rounds, Pat Roberts, Cory Gardner, Roger Wicker, Steve Daines, James Lankford, Roy Blunt and Dan Sullivan.

You will find the full text of the letter below:

August 6, 2015

The Honorable Carolyn Colvin
Acting Commissioner of Social Security
Social Security Administration
6401 Security Boulevard
Woodlawn, MD 21207

Dear Acting Commissioner Colvin:

We were disappointed to learn, through press reports rather than direct contact from the Social Security Administration (SSA) with Congress, that SSA is currently in the planning stages of implementing a new policy to report certain Social Security beneficiaries to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) used by the government to prevent gun sales to individuals who are felons, drug addicts, illegal or unlawful immigrants, and others.

As far as we know, nothing in the NICS presupposes adverse risk associated with individuals who are recipients of Social Security benefits and who also utilize representative payees.  Yet, SSA’s intention to implement screening of all such individuals seems to improperly presume that such a risk exists.  It is not at all clear how this misguided intention is intended to be carried out or how SSA will serve as adjudicator of risks posed by beneficiaries utilizing its representative payee system.

The representative payee system is vital for beneficiaries who need assistance managing their own finances.  Millions of responsible seniors and people with disabilities rely on a representative payee.  As SSA explains to beneficiaries:  “There can be many reasons why Social Security decides someone needs a payee.  However, it is usually because we have information that indicated you need help managing your money and meeting your current needs.”  This description does not seem to suggest that beneficiaries using representative payees are deemed to be a danger to others or to themselves.  Indeed, it would be inappropriately presumptive to decide that such dangers exist merely because an individual participates in the representative payee system, even when participation is based on mental-health related reasons.  Mental health conditions are varied, and SSA’s intentions to report beneficiaries utilizing the representative payee system runs the risk of increasing stigma for beneficiaries with mental health conditions and unfairly judging them to be unfit to avail themselves of their Second Amendment rights.

In light of SSA’s perennial complaints about lack of funding to administer its programs, it is disappointing to learn that allegedly scarce administrative resources are being devoted to an effort to deny certain beneficiaries of their rights.  Those resources would more effectively be used improving service for Social Security beneficiaries, updating Social Security’s dated criteria for administering its Disability Insurance program, reducing numerous service backlogs, or even improving the workings of the representative payee system currently in place, which the Government Accountability Office recently identified as “a major SSA management challenge.”

We urge you to suspend further efforts to develop your plan to report old-age and disability benefit recipients in Social Security programs to NICS and to provide a detailed report to us on the basis for SSA’s intention to develop such a plan.

Old age or a disability does not make someone a threat to society. Having a representative payee should not be grounds to revoke constitutional rights.  We strongly urge you to halt any steps to provide information on Social Security beneficiaries or Supplemental Security Income recipients to the NICS.

We look forward to your prompt response.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews


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  • fun bag August 12, 2015 at 11:41 am

    Seems like an effort to stop the severely mentally ill from acquiring guns. They don’t want someone who is so mentally ill, senile, delusional, or psychotic that they can’t even manage their own SSI check to be able to wander into a firearm shop and acquire an ak47 and a stack of hi-cap mags and ammo…

    • Dexter August 12, 2015 at 12:59 pm

      Yeah that’s why people like REAL LIFE DORK won’t be able to buy a gun

  • fun bag August 12, 2015 at 11:43 am


    • mesaman August 12, 2015 at 10:03 pm

      Don’t hold your hand over your rear end until it happens, Fun Bag. It might grow there. Note my consideration of you after some of your more recent posts. You are appreciated.

  • beentheredonethat August 12, 2015 at 10:36 pm

    Snorrin Hatch wants mentally ill people to be able to own guns? PTSD claiming whacos? Oh yes, vote for Donald Trump. He stands as much of a chance as Ralph Nader did. But the church will tell the sheep what to do. Magic stones tell all. Lofl.

  • fun bag August 12, 2015 at 10:40 pm

    ‘Twas the night before Republican convention, when all through the house
    Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
    The guns were hid in the chimney with care,
    In hopes that Obama wouldn’t be there;
    The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
    While visions of huntin’ danced in their heads;
    And mamma in her ’kerchief, and I in my cap,
    Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,
    When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
    Away to the window I flew like a flash,
    Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
    The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
    Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
    When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
    But a Obama, and eight tiny reindeer,
    With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
    I knew in a moment it must be Obama
    More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
    And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
    “Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
    On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!
    To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
    Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
    As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
    When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
    So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
    With the sleigh full of Toys, and Obama too.
    And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
    The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
    As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
    Down the chimney Obama came with a bound.
    He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
    And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
    A bundle of guns he had flung on his back,
    And he looked like a pedler just opening his pack.
    His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
    His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
    His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow
    And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
    The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
    And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
    He had a broad face and a little round belly,
    That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.
    He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
    And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
    A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
    Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
    He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
    And took all the guns; then turned with a jerk,
    And laying his finger aside of his nose,
    And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
    He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
    And away they all flew like the down of a thistle,
    But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
    “I took all your guns, and to all a good-night.”


    • mesaman August 13, 2015 at 11:30 am

      Gag! You should become a writer for the “Cait” TV show. More to your level of cognitive functioning.

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