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Social Security Opens Comments for Gun Disability Records Expansion

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Article first appeared at Ammo Land.

USA –  -(Ammoland.com)-  “We propose to implement provisions of the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007 (NIAA) that require Federal agencies to provide relevant records to the Attorney General for inclusion in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS),” the Social Security Administration explains in a proposed rule appearing in the May 5 issue of The Federal Register. “Under the proposed rule, we would identify, on a prospective basis, individuals who receive Disability Insurance benefits … or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments … and also meet certain other criteria…

“We propose to provide pertinent information about these individuals to the Attorney General on not less than a quarterly basis,” SSA elaborates. “As required by the NIAA, at the commencement of the adjudication process we would also notify individuals, both orally and in writing, of their possible Federal prohibition on possessing or receiving firearms, the consequences of such inclusion, the criminal penalties for violating the Gun Control Act, and the availability of relief from the prohibitions imposed by Federal law. Finally, we also propose to establish a program that permits individuals to request relief from the Federal firearms prohibitions based on our adjudication. The proposed rule would allow us to fulfill responsibilities that we have under the NIAA.”

“This document has a comment period that ends in 61 days (07/05/2016),” The Federal Register notes. To do that, it includes a link to Regulations.gov (“Your voice in federal decision-making”).

There are major concerns we should have with a sweeping bureaucratic firearms disability, which no doubt the gun-grabbers will paint as “Gun nuts want to give guns to crazy people.”

Stated accurately, it would be liberty advocates demand that government afford full due process protections to all citizens. The truly crazy contention would be that Americans are presumed guilty until they can prove their innocence. The truth of the matter is that anyone who can’t be trusted with a gun can’t be trusted without a custodian, and basic rights should not be denied without the equivalent protections provided to those accused of the most heinous crimes.

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There are still many unanswered questions government would prefer not to answer, let alone have brought up so others may consider them.

Specifically, will decisions rely on those who may have biases of their own, as can currently be the case, with ATF’s “clarifying the term ‘adjudicated as a mental defective’ to mean a determination by a court, board, commission or other lawful authority,” and with some states applying even broader “standards”?

What protections will exist to offset politically-connected anti-gun judges, politically-appointed boards, and “expert” adherents of the American Psychiatric Association’s “Position Statement on Firearm Access, Acts of Violence and the Relationship to Mental Illness and Mental Health Services.” It’s fair to ask, because APA includes in its advocacy platform registration-enabling, background checks, “smart” guns, storage requirements, “gun-free” zones, doctor-patient boundary violations, tax-funded anti-gun “studies,” all outside the scope of the training and credentialing of those making these proposals.

Significantly though, even APA admits:

Only a small proportion of individuals with a mental disorder pose a risk of harm to themselves or others.

Casting a wide net and leaving the shot-calling up to those with subjective political motivations has historical precedence – predominantly in “gun control” havens. Also of interest – or it should be – how will rights be restored when there is no longer a compelling mental health proscription to deny them? What universal appeal mechanism – affordable to all, not just to elites for whom money is no object – will exist to declare a person is once more “eligible” to keep and bear arms?

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What guarantees are there that the same biases that colored the disability ruling in the first place won’t reassert themselves in the “parole” process? And have we identified psychiatric evaluators, risk management administrators and insurers who will be willing to subject themselves to malpractice liabilities should a person deemed “fit” be misdiagnosed? Or will the pressure be to “err on the side of caution”?

And don’t forget this would all be a moot point anyway if government restricted itself to only those powers delegated to its branches in the Constitution, and kept from imposing itself in areas where the only clear directive is “shall not be infringed.”

But since that’s not likely to happen, it’s important to work all the details out beforehand, and it’s important that every gun owner realize that they – that you – have a personal stake in this. After all, noting “studies” by “researchers’ from Duke and Harvard attempting to prove a nexus between owning guns and being an “angry, unstable, impulsive” head case, there’s a reason why they call us “gun nuts.”

I urge you to look at the proposed rule and express any concerns you may have, including to your representative, assuming that’s not a waste of time.

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