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article imageOp-Ed: Obama will ban gun ownership to some Social Security recipients

By Karen Graham     Jul 20, 2015 in Politics
Wanting tighter control of gun owners in the country, the Obama administration has taken steps to tie gun ownership with Social Security benefits, expanding background checks for firearms owners.
President Obama was unable to push tighter gun control legislation through Congress in 2013, but through executive action, something the president loves to use, the Social Security Administration could cut off benefits, resulting in the addition of millions of people to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), the Los Angeles Times reported.
The move would affect millions of recipients of Social Security benefits whose monthly disability payments are handled by others. The administration is saying this would bring the Social Security Administration in line with the laws "that prevent gun sales to felons, drug addicts, and immigrants in the United States illegally." Oh, and this would include "others."
It all has to do with the language of our federal gun laws, and that is where "others" comes into play. The gun laws are supposed to restrict gun ownership to "people who are unable to manage their own affairs due to marked subnormal intelligence, or mental illness, incompetency, condition, or disease,” according to Fox News.
It comes as no surprise, but the Department of Veterans Affairs has been using the background check strategy since it was created in 1993, reporting anyone on their roles who has been declared incompetent and unable to manage their own affairs, and been assigned a fiduciary, or designated payee.
If Social Security opts to use the same system used by the VA, then as many as 4.2 million Social Security recipients, considered unable to handle their own affairs, and paid monthly benefits through a designated payee, would be affected.
Since the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn., gun control has been a hot issue in the U.S. But this time, the critics include gun rights activists, mental health experts and advocates for the disabled. They say expanding the ban on gun ownership to include financial competence is wrong, according to The Blaze.
The critics argue that while expanding the ban to include some Social Security recipients who might be a danger to themselves or others, the government's strategy would also include many who might be forgetful occasionally or have trouble balancing their checkbook.
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."
The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1993
The act was named after White House Press Secretary James Brady, partially paralyzed after being shot in the 1981 assassination attempt on President Reagan. The law requires gun shops to run the names of prospective buyers through a computerized system for a background check.
The computerized databases include 13 million records, including the names of felons, immigrants in the U.S. illegally, fugitives, dishonorably discharged service members, drug addicts and domestic abusers. As with many systems, this one too, has been plagued with loopholes and inconsistent reporting of records.
And while Obama's efforts to push stricter gun ownership laws through Congress in 2013 failed, there were 23 executive orders on the issue, and one was sent to the Department of Justice. The DOJ was told to ensure that federal agencies were complying with the existing law on reporting to the background check system.
The VA has been entering names religiously since they started with the system, and so far, there are 177,000 veterans and survivors in the database. The VA uses terminology that is archaic, though, saying the veteran has been "adjudicated as a mental defective," even though the only requirement is whether or not the veteran has a fiduciary.
Over half the names on the VA list are veterans over 80 years of age, many of them suffering from dementia. But here's what ruffles my feathers, folks. I really don't think any of the shootings that have taken place in the U.S. since the Sandy Hook School shootings in 2012 has been committed by 80+ year-old veterans with dementia.
This is one time that I agree with the NRA. After hearing about the latest initiative from the White House, the NRA issued a statement from its chief lobbyist, Chris W. Cox, saying: "If the Obama administration attempts to deny millions of law-abiding citizens their constitutional rights by executive fiat, the NRA stands ready to pursue all available avenues to stop them in their tracks."
I can't help but believe Obama's strategy is nothing more than another attack on law-abiding citizens, another attempt to push gun control on us, and this time he is striking out at the older generation.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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