On Social Security? Obama Wants Your Gun!

by | Jul 20, 2015


In a move that Alan Zarembo of the Los Angeles Times reports could result in the US government barring millions of Americans from owning guns, President Barack Obama’s administration has been quietly planning to have the Social Security Administration report the private information of Social Security recipients to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

Among the millions of people who may, as a result, be deprived of the ability to legally possess guns are, Zarembo notes, about 1.5 million Social Security recipients who “have their finances handled by others for a variety of reasons” and about 2.7 million people who receive Social Security disability payments due to mental health problems.

The Obama administration’s planned Social Security program is similar to an ongoing Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) program for reporting private mental health and other information to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for inclusion in NICS. My April 22 Ron Paul Institute article “VA Sending Veterans’ Mental Health Information to the FBI to Aid Gun Restrictions” provides details and analysis regarding the VA program. The RPI article also puts the VA program in the context of the “ongoing expansion of the scope of mental health databases and of the databases’ use by the US and state governments to prevent people from exercising gun rights.”

As with the VA program, the planned Social Security program baselessly equates a person’s inability or disinclination to handle some or all of his financial activities or decisions with the person posing a danger to others. Zarembo writes:

Though such a ban would keep at least some people who pose a danger to themselves or others from owning guns, the strategy undoubtedly would also include numerous people who may just have a bad memory or difficulty balancing a checkbook, the critics argue.

‘Someone can be incapable of managing their funds but not be dangerous, violent or unsafe,’ said Dr. Marc Rosen, a Yale psychiatrist who has studied how veterans with mental health problems manage their money. ‘They are very different determinations.’

While National Rifle Association (NRA) chief lobbyist Chris W. Cox’s quote in the Zarembo article suggests the NRA opposes the planned Social Security program, there is reason for skepticism. The NRA has worked over the years to create government mental health databases, to encourage the addition of more information in those databases, and to promote using such databases to restrict gun ownership.

Read Zarembo’s complete, informative Los Angeles Times article here.


  • Adam Dick

    Adam worked from 2003 through 2013 as a legislative aide for Rep. Ron Paul. Previously, he was a member of the Wisconsin State Board of Elections, a co-manager of Ed Thompson's 2002 Wisconsin governor campaign, and a lawyer in New York and Connecticut.

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