A plan by the Obama administration to bar certain Social Security beneficiaries from owning a firearm has been heavily criticized by gun rights advocates as one of the most audacious moves to push gun control so far.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the move will integrate data from the Social Security Administration (SSA) into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), something that has never been done before. As a result, beneficiaries who have been declared incompetent due to mental illness or disease may be stripped of their firearms. However, in the same group are beneficiaries who unable to manage their disability payments or pensions and have been assigned a “representative payee,” which includes about 4.2 million Americans. The plan may also affect some Supplemental Security Income recipients.

“Obviously, many individuals swept up in this egregious case of bureaucratic over-reach would not otherwise be prohibited from owning, possessing, or acquiring firearms under federal law,” stated the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action.

Many critics of the plan argue that it will target gun owners based solely on financial competence, rather than mental illness, which is what the Obama administration had in mind. Gun rights advocates, mental health experts, and activists for the disabled say the plan will affect beneficiaries who are perfectly capable of owning a firearm without being a danger to themselves or others.

“Someone can be incapable of managing their funds but not be dangerous, violent or unsafe,” Dr. Marc Rosen, a psychologist at Yale, told the Times. “They are very different determinations.”

The plan quickly drew condemnation from a number of lawmakers, who earlier this week sent a letter to the acting commissioner of the SSA, Carolyn Colvin.

“Old age or a disability doesn’t make someone a threat to society. Having a representative payee should not be grounds to revoke constitutional rights. We strongly urge you to halt any steps to provide information on Social Security benefiaciaries or Supplmental Security Income recipients to the NICS,” stated a letter signed by members of the House of Representatives, including the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security, Congressman Sam Johnson (R-Texas).

“If left to their own devices, President Obama’s Social Security Administration would be free to implement the largest gun grab in American history,” said Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA-ILA. “The NRA appreciates Chairman Johnson’s swift action to put a halt to this outrageous scheme that would deny millions of Americans a fundamental constitutional right because they need or want help managing their finances.”

Cox pointed to the affects of a similar program in the Veterans Administration that designated veterans as “prohibited persons” once they were assigned a fiduciary to manage their benefits. So far about 177,00 veterans have been affected, but are able to purchase a firearm if they file an appeal and are deemed eligible.

You can watch an interview with Cox on the subject below:

Image courtesy the Social Security Administration

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  • Jerry Nord

    How about basing ownership on incompetence which Obama and Biden fall into. Such as statements “If you hear someone in your yard, get your double-barreled shotgun, go on your balcony and fire a couple rounds”. I think who said that should not own a gun.

  • Michael

    Obama, used an Presidential Memorandum, which doesn’t carry the same weight as a Executive Order. And Kicked it back to Congress to have them Deal With It. Congress, has been finding way to Tap into the Financial Reserves of the US Postal Service and the Veteran’s Administration. He added this “Rider” to the Social Security, too see how far Congress was will to go after Social Security Benefits and Medicare Systems.

  • Robert G. Heinritz, Jr., J.D.

    AMERICA WAS WARNED!
    “I think the U.S. Constitution is an imperfect document. I think it is a document that reflects some deep flaws in American culture. Barack Hussein Obama, September 6, 2001.
    ‘I will stand with (Muslims) should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.” Barack Obama, THE AUDACITY OF HOPE.

    • @ Robert G. Heinritz, Jr., J.D.

      First of ALL, your Not born into a Religion, you can Change your religion any time you want. Second, Barack Obama’s father was Born a Luo-Roman Catholic and converted to Islam. Muslim is NOT a Religion. Third, Barak Obama, is a Protestant Christian. and Four, Take You Med’s for this one. According to the National Center for Health Statistics Management and Budget and Information and Regulatory Affairs publication of 1989. Called the Standards For Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity. And later passed into Law in 1990, 65 N.Y.L.U., Revised 479 (1990). Seed Father, NO LONGER Determines RACE and ETHNICITY. Birth Mother, DOES. GUESS WHAT? Barack Obama is “WHITE”. Isn’t that a Mule Kick to the Head…

  • JAMES FINNEY

    What else would this fool try to do. He is out of his mind if he even has one. He will never see this happen and if he comes for the weapons he better bring a lot of help. AMERICA WILL NEVER GIVE UP THEIR WEAPONS, NEVER. COME ON SUCKER!!!!!!

  • fw

    Michael, you ar e100% correct and nra is way over blowing this thing. SS gun itmes could be handled the same way vet gun issue is handled. We need to get better handle on the gun issues as way to many being shot each day. Met one guy “packin giwht permit” that could not see well enough to shop or drive, yet could carry? Hope most do research before they buy into nra hype (again). NOT anti gun, but we need sensible laws, not those made by nra and other lobbyists to sell guns for mfgs they represent. Somehow sane folks on both sides of issue need to meet and discuss in civil manner, how to get the guns issue solved, Extremes on both sides out of it as not really for people’s concern, used as a political hot button issue to avoid really serious issues.

  • JR

    @ fw…
    You are talking about the legal gun ownership. Legal gun owners are not the ones going on murder sprees. It is the criminals that are killing people with guns acquired through means other than legal. What we truly need are laws to deal with illegal gun sales and possession.

    • fw

      No it is NOT “Criminals who get gun illegally”, a myth. ANYONE can go to gun shows in many states and buy any gun with no ID, no background checks etc. You do not even have to prove you are resident of that state. The past week has resulted in at three or more mass killings where families or others shot down by folks who had been treated for mental issues, or were on protective orders such., They all “legally” bought guns, but should NOT have been allowed to do so, or even own a gun, they were dangers to selves and all of us.

      No on is trying to “Grab guns” as fools at nra hype dept shouting. We have enough “legal carry” running about who’s “qualification are zero, other then no criminal past. But reality is, just as important as background checks, if horror of NO gun safety or qualification shooting (some have 10 rds which is a sad joke, and most now days do not require real course in gun laws, not even a eye test, which you need to drive a car but it seems not really needed to safely ID via gun site?

      Most of mass shootings last few months done by folks with mental issues, in treatment issues which could have been prevented via checks. Someone who is not capable of handling own money, or life need not have a gun as pretty much de facto they are incapable of judgement needed to run lives and shooting decisions, If they are, like in vet issues, apply for a waiver. Ihave been shooter for decades, and on occasion have been on ranges where some of shooters very scary about “self defense killing/knock down/blah blah” talk that was beyond reason. We need as you say protection for “legal ownership” but that means a system to track the guns, right now not even mandatory to report “stolen guns”.

      No one is taking away anything from “legal” owners. We need to turn down the paranoia a bit and look at how to keep guns safer for all involved, and ignore the banshee’s screaming and wailing by extremes on both sides of issue. We are in desperate need of some sane folks sitting down together and in civil manner, arriving at sane gun laws, as we are headed in wrong direction now, to many being shot to often for civilized nation to support any longer.. Less lobbyists and more reasonable folks need to talk and take actions.
      PS Where do you think the “criminals” get the guns-ammo, a item nearly never discussed?.

  • Bob Ramos

    If the Social Security numbers can be used like this than it can be used to remove illegal aliens too.

  • eric adolphson

    The problem is the breakdown of our nation’s trust. Our leads have lost our trust, most do not believe anything from DC. People want to protect there self from harm. Our national debt is at $130,000.00 per household, not counting that family’s personal debt. We are afraid of what will happen when things go to hell. It will be hell for those who can not defend there family and food. If I was old or disable, I would be even more afraid of what is next. It would go along way to solve some of the problem if we could trust our leaders again. Most have stopped raising men and women of honesty a long time ago. Just look, Ferguson to jenner…

  • Bob Jones

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2013 firearms (excluding BB and pellet guns) caused 84,258 nonfatal injuries (26.65 per 100,000 U.S. citizens) and 33,636 deaths (10.6 deaths per 100,000). In 2013, a total of 117,894 people in the U.S. were injured or killed by guns.

    There are currently 318.9 million U.S. citizens. Using the statistics above, in 2013 one out of every 2705 people in the U.S. was shot by a firearm, and one out of every 9481 people was killed by a firearm.

    If the current trend continues, one out of every 37 people currently living in the U.S. will be shot by a firearm during the course of their life (assuming a 74-year lifetime); one out of every 128 people will be killed by a firearm during their lifetime.

    • Del Griffith

      Spoken like a true, liberal anti-gun activist who has been copying and pasting the same inaccurate and statistically inconclusive message all over the internet for quite some time. What “Bob Jones” attempts to do is lie by omission. That means he leaves out facts about legal gun owners that would counter his argument.

      One of the easiest things to do is sit in front of a computer, run a google search on your favorite topic, and “extrapolate” your own argument and conclusions from statistics. You can do it concerning just about any topic!

      Just another far-left, anti-gun, disarm the populace liberal who fails to get it through his head that 99% of legal gun owners have never harmed themselves or another human being with a firearm. That’s because we respect the law and human life, while an overwhelming percentage of harm to humans by firearm is committed by illegal guns.