Barletta Votes to Stop Obama Gun Grab for Certain Social Security Recipients

Feb 2, 2017
Press Release
Last Minute Rule Strips 2nd Amendment Rights of People Who Need Help Managing Finances

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) today voted to overturn a new rule from the Social Security Administration (SSA) that would have the effect of stripping the 2nd Amendment rights of citizens simply because they need help in managing their finances.  The rule, issued in the waning days of the Obama Administration, affects people who receive Disability Insurance or Supplemental Social Security benefits for certain mental health conditions, and who also are deemed to require someone to help manage their benefits.  The list of mental health conditions includes such afflictions as bulimia, anxiety, and obsessive compulsive disorder.  People covered by the rule would have their names sent to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) and be prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms. 

“It seems incredible that President Obama would use Social Security and a blanket policy as means to limit the lawful ownership of firearms, but that’s just what he did on his way out the door,” Barletta said.  “This rule, stated simply, says that if your grandmother has anxiety and needs help managing her finances, she gets reported to NICS and is stripped of a Constitutional right.  That cannot stand.”

Barletta was an original cosponsor of the resolution of disapproval of the rule, H.J. Res. 40, which passed the House by a vote of 235-to-180.  It now heads to the Senate for its consideration.  The resolution was passed by the House pursuant to the provisions of the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to overturn an agency’s rule if a joint resolution of disapproval is passed by both chambers and signed by the president.

The SSA rule also violates an individual’s right to due process.  Once a person’s name is sent to NICS, the individual may only seek relief through the agency’s appeals process.  This puts citizens in the position of having to prove they are not threats to public safety after they already have been deprived of their rights.  Although the rule took effect on January 18, 2017, the SSA will not begin submitting names to the NICS under the new criteria until December 19, 2017.

“It’s a pretty rare issue that brings together the National Rifle Association and a whole list of groups that advocate for seniors and the disabled, but that’s what this rule has done,” Barletta said.  “Just because you need a little help in managing your finances doesn’t mean you forfeit your Constitutional rights.”

The following is a list of organizations which support the overturning of the SSA rule:

 

ADAPT

American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)

Association of Mature American Citizens

Autism Self Advocacy Network

Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law

Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Rights Task Force

Disability Rights Law Center (DRLC) Alaska

National Alliance on Mental Illness

National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy

National Association for Rural Mental Health

National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Directors

National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery

National Council on Disability

National Council on Independent Living

National Disability Leadership Alliance

National Disability Rights Network

National Rifle Association (NRA)

New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services

Safari Club International

The Arc of the United States

Issues: