WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) today joined Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) in introducing S.2495, a bill to amend the Social Security Act relating to the use of determinations made by the Commissioner. The legislation would protect Social Security beneficiaries from being stripped of their Second Amendment rights because of determinations used by the Social Security Administration about the management and payment of an individual’s benefits. The legislation is cosponsored by Inhofe as well as Sens. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska).
“As part of his executive gun control actions, President Obama and his administration are seeking to curb the Second Amendment rights of Social Security recipients,” said Inhofe. “The Social Security Administration should not decide such issues, and I am proud to join Senator Crapo in ensuring that beneficiaries’ Constitutional rights are not improperly targeted by the president’s unilateral actions.”
In January 2013, the President issued a memorandum directing federal agencies – including the Social Security Administration - to gather and submit information to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) on individuals who may be determined to be what NICS refers to as “mentally deficient”. In order for an individual to be deemed “mentally deficient”, a court, board or other lawful authority is required find that the person is a danger to themselves or others, or is unable to contract or manage their own affairs.
For some beneficiaries, the Social Security Administration will appoint someone to act as representative payee for a beneficiary who may need assistance to manage their benefits. This appointment is not made through a court of law and is not a determination of a beneficiary’s mental capacity. Under the President’s memorandum, the Social Security Administration could be required to report individuals who have been appointed a representative payee to NICS. S. 2495 would prevent Social Security beneficiaries from being reported and protect their Second Amendment rights.