New Law May Prevent SSDI Recipients from Buying Firearms

New Law May Prevent SSDI Recipients from Buying Firearms

The multiple mass shootings that have plagued our country over the past few years have sparked a heated debate over gun control regulations. The most recent topic of debate surrounds a new gun rule proposed by the Social Security Administration. The proposed rule is aimed at making it illegal for certain Social Security disability recipients to buy firearms and, according to an article on Cleveland.com, could impact roughly 75,000 people each year.

There are many disabling conditions that the Social Security Administration recognizes, including several mental disorders. Under the current law, authorities have the power to block certain people with mental illness from purchasing firearms. Currently, however, the list of people who are receiving Social Security disability benefits for a mental illness is not provided to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS)—a  federal gun check database that gun dealers are required to check before selling a gun.

The Proposed Gun Rule

Currently, the background check system gets its records from police agencies and mental health authorities, including the Veterans Administration. Under the proposed gun rule, the Social Security Administration would act as a mental health authority and would provide a list of its disability benefits recipients to the background check system. However, only recipients between the ages of 18 and 65 will be listed. Additionally, in order to be put on the no-buy list, the recipient must also:

  • Have a documented mental health issue, or have been found legally incompetent by a state or federal court
  • Receive Social Security disability benefits because of their mental health diagnosis, and
  • Receive those benefits through an appointed payee, as the recipient’s mental health issue renders them unable to manage their own benefits.

Arguments For and Against the Proposed Gun Rule

Those in favor of the proposed gun rule largely argue that adding mental health information from the Social Security Administration’s databases will help make the federal gun check database more complete and therefore better able to flag prospective gun owners who fall into a prohibited category. On the other hand, as Cleveland.com reports, some gun-rights groups feel that the intent behind the proposed rule is not to restrict mentally unstable people from owning guns but to take guns from the elderly. Additionally, some fear that if the gun rule is enacted it may serve as a disincentive to those who would like to seek medical help for their mental issues.

Finding Help

Filing for Social Security disability benefits can be a daunting task, and there may be impacts to your life that you may not be aware of. The experienced disability lawyers at the Klok Law Firm LLC would be happy to help you navigate these legal waters. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.

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