WASHINGTON – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley introduced a joint resolution of disapproval to begin the process of reversing an Obama administration regulation that allows the Social Security Administration to report citizens receiving disability benefits to the national gun ban list without due process.  The House of Representatives is expected to vote on an identical version of the resolution, introduced by Reps. Sam Johnson (R-Texas) and Ralph Abraham (R-La.), later today.
“The Obama administration’s regulation that adds certain Social Security recipients to the gun ban list is reckless, overly broad and an affront to the Second Amendment rights of people with disabilities.  Whenever the government acts to limit the fundamental constitutional rights of citizens, it must do so carefully, lawfully and in a way that doesn’t unduly impact law-abiding Americans.  The Social Security Regulation fails in this regard.  That’s why many disability advocates and civil rights watchdogs have called for Congress to repeal the final rule,” Grassley said.
The regulation requires that the Social Security Administration submit names of beneficiaries to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System’s (NICS) “mental defective” list if they require assistance managing their disability benefits and have certain disorders.  However, the regulation is overly broad and will capture innocent individuals in its regulatory net.  As a result, it will unfairly restrict the ability of certain Social Security recipients to safely exercise their Second Amendment rights. For example, the regulation fails to require the agency to determine that individuals are a danger to themselves or others before reporting them to the gun ban list. The regulation also fails to include any due process prior to limiting the beneficiaries’ fundamental Second Amendment rights.  Under the regulation, the agency does not afford a beneficiary a hearing prior to reporting him or her to the gun ban list. Further, the regulation shifts the burden of proof to the beneficiaries to demonstrate that they are not a danger in order to get their name off the gun ban list.  In essence, the government is requiring the beneficiary to prove he or she is entitled to a constitutional right after the government has already revoked it without an adjudication, which is required by federal law.
The joint resolution, if approved by both chambers of Congress and the president, would strike the regulation.
Grassley’s resolution of disapproval is cosponsored by Senators Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Mike Lee (R-Utah), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Richard Shelby (R- Ala.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Pat Roberts, (R-Kan.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), David Perdue (R-Ga.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.).
The joint resolution is also supported by a number of disability rights and civil rights organizations that have argued the agency regulation unfairly stigmatizes those with disabilities and fails to determine whether beneficiaries are a danger to self or others before reporting them to the gun ban list.
Supporters include: