February 04, 2016

Crapo Bill Protects Second Amendment Rights of Social Security Beneficiaries

WASHINGTON - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo today introduced legislation with nine other cosponsors that would protect Social Security beneficiaries from being stripped of their Second Amendment rights because of determinations used by the Social Security Administration about the management and payment of an individual's benefits.  The legislation is cosponsored by Senators Steve Daines (R-MT), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Dean Heller (R-NV), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Dan Sullivan (R-AK).

In January 2013, the President issued a memorandum directing federal agencies - including the Social Security Administration - to gather and submit information to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) on individuals who may be determined to be what NICS refers to as "mentally deficient."  In order for an individual to be deemed "mentally deficient," a court, board, or other lawful authority is required find that the person is a danger to themselves or others, or is unable to contract or manage their own affairs.

For some beneficiaries, the Social Security Administration will appoint someone to act as representative payee for a beneficiary who may need assistance to manage their benefits.  This appointment is not made through a court of law and is not a determination of a beneficiary's mental capacity.  Under the President's memorandum, the Social Security Administration could be required to report individuals who have been appointed a representative payee to NICS.  Crapo's bill would prevent Social Security beneficiaries from being reported and protect their Second Amendment rights.

"It is inappropriate for the Social Security Administration to make determinations about an individual's ability to buy or possess a firearm," said Crapo.  "This bill would protect the rights of Social Security beneficiaries from having their Constitutional rights arbitrarily revoked."

Text of the bill, S.2495, is attached and will be referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.  Companion legislation, H.R. 3516 has been introduced in the House by Rep. Sam Johnson of Texas.  

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