On a day when legislation benefiting women and black colleges and universities was signed with much pomp and circumstance, President Trump quietly followed through on his pledge to defend the Second Amendment by signing the repeal of Barack Obama’s Social Security gun ban.
The U.S, House voted to repeal the ban on February 2 and the Senate voted to repeal it on February 15.
The ban was fashioned behind closed doors in the summer of 2015 and Breitbart News reported:
The specific details of the ban are unknown, as it is being put together “outside of public view.” But the LA Times reports that a ban on gun possession due to inability to handle finances would be sweeping; that it would cover those who are unable to manage their own affairs for a multitude of reasons–from “subnormal intelligence or mental illness” to “incompetency,” an unspecified “condition,” or “disease.”
The Times notes that the finances of roughly “4.2 million” Social Security beneficiaries are handled by someone else.
As bits and pieces of the ban continued to be revealed over the following months, it was evident that Social Security beneficiaries who required help managing their finances were in jeopardy of losing their Second Amendment rights. An overview of the ban–provided by the Social Security Administration (SSA)–showed it was structured so that persons under mental duress and requiring help with their finances could be investigated by the SSA, then turned over to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to be barred from gun purchases.
Page 19 of the SSA overview said:
Under our representative payee policy, unless direct payment is prohibited, we presume that an adult beneficiary is capable of managing or directing the management of benefits. However, if we have information that the beneficiary has a mental or physical impairment that prevents him or her from managing or directing the management of benefits, we will develop the issue of capability. If a beneficiary has a mental impairment, we will develop the capability issue if there is an indication that the beneficiary may lack the ability to reason properly, is disoriented, has seriously impaired judgment, or is unable to communicate with others.
Put simply, beneficiaries who caught the SSA’s attention by having someone help with finances could be investigated. The investigation would include a look at mental health and the findings could then serve to justify a prohibition against gun ownership. The Obama administration finalized the ban during the week prior to Christmas 2016, but concern over violations of the Due Process rights of Social Security beneficiaries had already taken center stage and calls for repealing the measure were legion.
On February 28, CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller reported:
Without ceremony, Pres Trump also signed bill nullifying Obama Admin rule providing Social Security info for gun buyer background checks.
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) February 28, 2017
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of Bullets with AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.