The Social Security Administration has released the details of their long-awaited new rule that could strip 75,000 beneficiaries of their gun rights every year.
- An individual files a claim based on a disability.
- The individual is adjudicated as having a disorder listed on the Mental Disorders Listing of Impairments.
- There is a corresponding primary diagnosis code in Social Security’s records based on that mental impairment.
- The individual is an adult over 18 but under retirement age.
- The individual receives their benefits through a representative payee approved by the agency due to being incapable of managing their own payments.
If these five criteria are met, the SSA will report the beneficiary to the DOJ, which will list the individual as a “prohibited person” in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
The good news is that these measures are not as drastic as was initially feared.
Beneficiaries will be notified during the adjudication process that they may lose their gun rights depending on the outcome (step #2). If an individual believes they do not deserve to have their constitutional rights revoked, they will have an opportunity to submit written statements, mental health records, and criminal records so their case can be reviewed.
If they are still denied their gun rights, they will be able to appeal their denial to the local U.S. District Court.
As the NRA notes in their analysis, however, the rules still raise “substantial cause for concern” because “at no point in the actual ‘adjudication’ is the individual’s propensity for violence a necessary consideration.”
“Financial acumen,” the NRA continues, “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.”
Furthermore, while an individual can appeal his or her denial, the NRA points out that the “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.”
While the SSA rules are not as draconian as was previously imagined, they still strip American citizens of their constitutional rights for unreasonable cause and without due process.
There is a 60-day comment period, during which time the American people can submit their thoughts on the new rules. Comments may be made one of three ways:
- The online Federal eRulemaking portal (use the “Search” function to find docket number SSA–2016–0011);
- By fax to (410) 966-2830;
- By mail to NICS Comments, Social Security Administration, 3100 West High Rise Building, 6401 Security Boulevard, Baltimore, Maryland 21235–640.