Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. Attorneys at Law

Proposed SSA Rule Would Affect Right to Purchase or Receive Guns - If you can't handle your money, you can't have a gun per Social Security

Proposed SSA Rule Would Affect Right to Purchase or Receive Guns -

If you can't handle your money, you can't have a gun per Social Security

In an announcement in the May 5, 2016, edition of the Federal Register, the Social Security Administration proposed a rule that would affect some disability recipients' right to purchase or receive firearms. SSA proposes to identify any recipients of Title II Disability Insurance Benefits (SSD) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) whose award is based on a finding that the person's mental impairment meets the requirements of Listing 112.00 and whose benefit is paid through a representative payee. The recipient would be notified, both orally and in writing, of their possible Federal prohibition on possessing or receiving firearms. Also, they propose a program that allows individuals to request relief from the Federal firearms prohibitions.

"From beginning to end, in fact, SSA's process makes no provision whatsoever for the individual to attend a formal hearing before an adjudicative authority, to put forth their own experts, or to cross-examining adverse witnesses. It only involves anonymous bureaucrats reviewing documents in a government-compiled file. That is hardly the process most Americans would consider an adjudication, and certainly not one sufficient to strip someone of fundamental liberties.

Ultimately, SSA's rulemaking highlights the need for systemic changes to the federal laws concerning when mental illness results in a person being prohibited from possessing and receiving firearms. Financial acumen, even if related to an underlying issue with sleep disturbances or inflated self-esteem, has no necessary relationship to a propensity for violence, and it's not a sufficient basis to strip persons of their inalienable right to self-defense. This is exactly why NRA is supporting corrective legislation, including the Mental Health and Safe Communities Act of 2015, the Social Security Beneficiary 2nd Amendment Rights Protection Act, and the Veterans 2nd Amendment Protection Act." reports NRA-ILA.

Comments on the proposed rule are welcomed by SSA and must be received no later than July 5, 2016. The full text of the proposed rule is available online at the Federal Register. To submit comments you can do one of the following:

•· Via the online Federal eRulemaking portal at https://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=SSA-2016-0011-0001;

•· Via facsimile at (410) 966-2830; or

•· By sending them through the mail to NICS Comments, Social Security Administration, 3100 West High Rise Building, 6401 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, Maryland 21235-6401

Someone can be incapable of managing their funds but not be dangerous, violent or unsafe," said Dr. Marc Rosen, a Yale psychiatrist who has studied how veterans with mental health problems manage their money. "They are very different determinations." Rosen said some [people] may avoid seeking help for mental health problems out of fear that they would be required to give up their guns."

Note, receiving retirement benefits from SSA would not trigger any further action.

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