Senate Approves Grassley Resolution Protecting Second Amendment Rights for Disabled Americans
Feb 15, 2017
Resolution would block Social Security reg to unlawfully add names to gun ban list
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate today approved a measure to roll back a misguided Obama-era regulation that would jeopardize the Second Amendment rights of Social Security beneficiaries. The bipartisan resolution of disapproval, authored by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, passed in the Senate by a vote of 57-43. The resolution of disapproval has 32 bipartisan Senate cosponsors and is supported by more than 20 disability and civil rights organizations.
“Our constitutional rights are among our most sacred rights. Whenever the federal government tries to regulate those rights, it had better have a darn good reason – one backed up by law and narrowly focused to prevent needless infringement. Social Security’s regulation plainly misses the mark. Under the regulation, the agency is not required to adequately prove that individuals meet the established legal definition of ‘mental defective’ or even provide due process before revoking their Second Amendment rights.
“Social Security’s flawed regulation risks erroneously adding tens of thousands of names to the federal gun ban list each year. It also unfairly stigmatizes people with disabilities, by implying that people with certain disorders are dangerous, without any actual evidence for such a claim. It’s no wonder that this regulation is opposed by more than 20 disability and civil rights groups from across the political spectrum. Today’s vote brings us one step closer to reversing this misguided regulation and reaffirming our commitment to guarding the constitutional rights of all
Americans,” 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 fails to require the agency to adequately prove that individuals fall within the established definition of “mental defective” before submitting their names to the NICS. In particular, the regulation does not require the agency to determine individuals to be dangerous or mentally ill before reporting them to the gun ban list. In addition, the regulation also deprives individuals of a hearing prior to revoking their Second Amendment rights and shifts a higher burden of proof onto the individuals to demonstrate that they are not dangerous.