CATO Institute Argues Against Using Social Security Administration to Stop Gun Purchases

We have been hearing a lot about guns in the news lately.  Following the horrific shooting at the Orlando nightclub, many have renewed their fight to ban assault weapons.  There are, of course, those on the other side who feel that there should be not be any restrictions on the right to purchase firearms, as that would violate a citizen’s Second Amendment right.

Regardless of where you come down on this issue, one of the ways that some are trying to accomplish this is by having the United States Social Security Administration (SSA) have the power to deny a person who is collecting disability benefits for mental health reasons from purchasing a firearm.


At first, disability advocates said that, while they support Obama administration’s efforts to prevent potentially dangerous people from owning guns, they were concerned that using the disability benefits system to stop people from buying guns would run the risk of finding yet another reason to ostracize those who already have the stigma of a disability.

While it might not be as obvious that disability advocates would weigh in on the gun control issues, there was no question that those who strongly defend the Second Amendment rights would be arguing against this.   According to a recent editorial from the CATO Institute, it would be unconstitutional to deny anyone who is receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits the right to purchase a firearm simply because they are receiving benefits for a mental health condition.

The reason they argue this is unconstitutional is because of one’s Second Amendment rights and the fact that when you apply for disability benefits, you are not being asked to give up your Second Amendment rights.  Despite your feelings about this issue, it seems that it is not going away any time soon and will likely become a bigger issue during the current presidential campaign.

As our disability benefits attorneys have seen, it would be interesting to see what happens if the SSA was given this authority, given the way in which other aspects of the disability claims process is handled.  The agency makes it extremely difficult for an unrepresented claimant to obtain disability benefits.  The reason for this is because the system is set up in such as way as to save money by paying out as little in benefits as possible.  This is done by denying applications initially without any regard as to whether the claimant is really disabled or not.

One of the best things you can do to help increase your chances of obtaining and full and appropriate disability benefits award is to speak with an experienced Boston disability benefits attorney as early in the process as possible.  It is often much easier for your attorney to help you make sure things are done right in the beginning than to have to go back and fix any mistakes that have been made after the fact.  However, it should be noted that even if you have already been denied, you should still contact an attorney.

If you or a loved one is seeking Social Security Disability Insurance in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.

Additional Resources:

The Social Security Administration Shouldn’t Be Deciding Who’s Too “Mentally Defective” to Own a Gun, July 5, 2016, CATO Institute, By Ilya Shapiro, Josh Blackman and Randal John Myer

More Blog Entries:

Who is Getting the Most from Social Security Disability? July 2, 2016, Boston SSDI Lawyer Blog

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