WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and David Perdue (R-GA) today voted to protect the Second Amendment rights of American citizens by halting an Obama Administration rule that requires the Social Security Administration to report the information of some beneficiaries to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), essentially adding them to a list of those who are prohibited from purchasing a gun.
“It is essential to ensure that the Social Security Administration recognizes and protects the fundamental nature of seniors’ rights under the Second Amendment,” said Senator Isakson. “I have long criticized the Department of Veterans Affairs for having a similar process that fails to respect veterans’ due-process rights, and I urge my colleagues to overturn this blanket restriction that effectively bans persons receiving disability benefits from purchasing firearms for no good reason.”
“Our Constitution enshrines the freedoms we all enjoy as Americans,” said Senator Perdue. “The Obama Administration’s attempt to prohibit law-abiding Americans from exercising their Second Amendment rights is a blatant overreach. I’m glad Congress has taken the common-sense step to undo this onerous rule and protect rights guaranteed by the Constitution.”
After the rule was announced, numerous advocacy groups voiced opposition:
American Civil Liberties Union: “There is no data to support a connection between the need for a representative payee to manage one’s Social Security disability benefits and a propensity toward gun violence. The rule further demonstrates the damaging phenomenon of ‘spread,’ or the perception that a disabled individual with one area of impairment automatically has additional, negative and unrelated attributes. Here, the rule automatically conflates one disability-related characteristic, that is, difficulty managing money, with the inability to safely possess a firearm.” (American Civil Liberties Union letter to Congress, 02/01/2017)
National Council on Disability: “NCD is a nonpartisan, independent federal agency with no stated position with respect to gun-ownership or gun-control other than our long-held position that restrictions on gun possession or ownership based on psychiatric or intellectual disability must be based on a verifiable concern as to whether the individual poses a heightened risk of danger to themselves or others if they are in possession of a weapon. Additionally, it is critically important that any restriction on gun possession or ownership on this basis is imposed only after the individual has been afforded due process and given an opportunity to respond to allegations that they are not able to safely possess or own a firearm due to his or her disability. NCD believes that SSA’s final rule falls far short of meeting these criteria.” (National Council on Disability letter to Congressional Leaders, 01/24/2017)
National Rifle Association: “Reporting law-abiding, non-dangerous individuals to NICS and forcing them, as a condition of removal, to prove they are not a threat to society is inconsistent with the GCA, the Second Amendment and basic due process.”(National Rifle Association letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell)