Democrat presidential hopeful Joe Biden’s gun control proposals could mean reviving the Obama gun ban that barred certain Social Security recipients from buying firearms.
The Social Security gun ban was an Obama-era policy which targeted benefit recipients who needed help managing their finances. On July 18, 2015, the Los Angeles Times reported that the ban 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.”
Breitbart News reported that the policy was finalized by the Obama Social Security Administration on December 19, 2016, weeks after Donald Trump won the presidential election, and just over a month before he was to be sworn into office.
Republicans focused on repealing the ban early in the Trump presidency. On February 12, 2017, Breitbart News reported that Duke University psychiatry and behavioral science professor Jeffrey Swanson believed Congress was right to repeal Barack Obama’s Social Security gun ban. Swanson suggested the ban targeted the “vulnerable” rather than the dangerous.
Swanson used a Washington Post column to explain the ban, saying, “Social Security beneficiaries with psychiatric disabilities who are assigned a money manager for their disability benefits would be reported to the FBI’s background check database as people ineligible to purchase firearms.” He noted that “the mental health conditions in question might range from moderate intellectual disabilities to depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia,” and then pointed to academic work showing that “the vast majority of mentally ill individuals” are not violent or suicidal.
On February 28, 2017, Trump signed legislation to do away with the ban.
Biden’s campaign website indicates that, if elected, he will revive the ban that targeted certain Social Security recipients.
The website says:
Reinstate the Obama-Biden policy to keep guns out of the hands of certain people unable to manage their affairs for mental reasons, which President Trump reversed. In 2016, the Obama-Biden Administration finalized a rule to make sure the Social Security Administration (SSA) sends to the background check system records that it holds of individuals who are prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms because they have been adjudicated by the SSA as unable to manage their affairs for mental reasons. But one of the first actions Donald Trump took as president was to reverse this rule. President Biden will enact legislation to codify this policy.
AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News, the host of the Breitbart podcast Bullets with AWR Hawkins, and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange.