One of the last-minute regulations from the Obama administration sought to deny Americans receiving Supplemental Security Income or disability insurance their Second Amendment rights. The last administration decided that these folks, who have help managing their income with a designated payee, would automatically be determined to be “mental defectives” and put in the NICS database, thus prohibiting them from purchasing a firearm.
The Senate passed HJ Resolution 40, which reversed a last-minute regulation established by the Social Security Administration in December 2016 that allowed the agency to give information to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) on recipients of disability insurance and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) if the government concluded they were mentally unstable.
Several Democrat senators, those in jeopardy of losing their Senate seats in gun-friendly red states, voted to block the Obama administration’s rule. The Daily Caller reports:
Democratic Sens. Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Jon Tester of Montana, plus independent Sen. Angus King of Maine crossed the aisle to vote in favor of the resolution.
The gun control crew argued that folks who have someone help them with their finances are “mental defectives” who are a danger to society with a firearm. There has been no study showing these Americans are dangerous to the public or that they are responsible for the “gun violence” the left likes to rally against.
“Repealing this regulation will ensure that disabled citizens’ Second Amendment rights are protected It will take more than the personal opinion of a bureaucrat,” said Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, the leading sponsor of the resolution.
“An existing statute requires agencies to report individuals to the gun ban list who are ineligible to possess firearms. That requirement remains intact even if this regulation is repealed. So it is plainly wrong to claim, as has been said, that if the regulation is disapproved, agencies will no longer have to report prohibited persons,” he said.
The anti-Second Amendment left and the media have presented the resolution as one that would allow severely mentally ill people to possess firearms. Here’s what a search turns up:
But again, the bill has nothing to do with mentally ill people. It targets people who have assistance managing their finances.
Senator Dick Durban said of the bill:
“For months I have been listening to President Trump and Republicans talk about gun violence in the City of Chicago — so what are they doing to save lives in Chicago and across the nation? Nothing. Instead, Republicans are trying to weaken the federal background check system used to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people.”
However, it wasn’t just Republicans who opposed the Obama regulation. The ACLU also weighed in.
“We oppose this rule because it advances and reinforces the harmful stereotype that people with mental disabilities, a vast and diverse group of citizens, are violent and should not own a gun. 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,” said the ACLU in a statement.
“Here, the rule automatically conflates one disability-related characteristic, that is, difficulty managing money, with the inability to safely possess a firearm,” the organization said.