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SSDI Recipients and New Gun Control Efforts

There is no question that gun control is a major issue in American politics these days.  With more and more school shootings and “active shooter” situations, there are many who are calling for a complete ban on hand guns and assault rifles.  Some will even go further and say that there should be no guns allowed due to the dangers posed by all of these shootings and domestic violence incidents.

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On the other hand, there are those who feel that it is every American’s Second Amendment right to own firearms, and the solution to the gun violence issue is for more Americans to carry weapons. Regardless of one’s position on the issue, it seems that most are in agreement that the mentally ill, including those with conditions such as schizophrenia, should not own a gun.

According to a recent news feature from The Hill, the way which the United States Social Security Administration (SSA) is choosing to help, pursuant to the policy directives of the presidential administration, is to report the identities of anyone who is receiving disability benefits and has a mental health condition to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), so that they can include these names in the instant Brady check performed whenever the ownership of a gun is transferred.  This will mean that if you are disabled and have a mental illness, you will not be able to own a gun.  The recent action came from an initiative that dated back to 2013 and has finally gained traction.  This was not the first effort to get this legislation passed.  The president first tried to do it by getting Congress to propose new legislation and vote on a bill, so he could sign it into law.  This was blocked in Congress.

Our Boston SSDI lawyers know this is the latest effort is an attempt at achieving the same result through the Social Security Administration, which is an executive agency under the control of the president.  However, in order to make a regulatory change, it is necessary for the agency to hold public hearings, so those in opposition to the new regulations can speak in opposition and be heard on the record.

What makes this more interesting is that the Social Security Administration is not typically in the business of regulating issues such as gun control.  The SSA was created to administer the Social Security Old Age and Retirement benefits fund and the Social Security disability fund.  The disability fund provides benefits to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) cases in Boston and other cities across the nation.  SSA also provides another type of disability benefits known as Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI benefits are for disabled children in low income households, and blind and disabled elderly Americans who have never worked.

Many disability rights groups are not willing to support this new initiative.  It is not that these groups feel strongly that people with mental health issues should be allowed to own a gun, but rather it is question of whether this will just add more of a stigma and additional discrimination against Americans with disabilities, especially those diagnosed with a mental illness.

If you or a loved one is seeking Social Security Disability Insurance in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at 1-888-367-2900.

Additional Resources:

Social Security moves to block the mentally ill from purchasing guns, May 4, 2016, The Hill, By Tim Devaney

More Blog Entries:

Mabry v. Colvin: Social Security Disability for Mental Illness, March 27, 2016, Boston SSDI Lawyer Blog