NRA: Social Security Administration Strikes at Second Amendment

The White House decked with wreaths and a Social Security card ghosted over the top

Many have claimed that the Social Security Administration has been trying to force recipients to choose between benefits and their Second Amendment rights. Arguments and counter arguments have been wielded for and against the proposal for some time. Without a final version, there was no way completely sort the wheat from the chaff. Now, in the final days of Obama’s time as President, it looks like there will be one more push for backdoor gun control.

Here is the full release from the NRA-ILA.

The White House decked with wreaths and a Social Security card ghosted over the top

On Monday, Barack Obama’s Social Security Administration (SSA) issued the final version of a rule that will doom tens of thousands of law-abiding (and vulnerable) disability insurance and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients to a loss of their Second Amendment rights under the guise of re-characterizing them as “mental defectives.” The SSA, for the first time in its history, will be coopted into the federal government’s gun control apparatus, effectively requiring Social Security applicants to weigh their need for benefits against their fundamental rights when applying for assistance based on mental health problems.

Barack Obama’s political party, and the presidential candidate he personally endorsed and campaigned for, suffered perhaps the most dramatic rebuke in the history of American politics with the election of Donald J. Trump. Far from being humbled or chastened, however, Obama is spending the waning days of his presidency releasing duly convicted felons from prison, making low-level appointments, and pushing pet policy projects, all to do something, anything, to leave his stamp after a lackluster tenure.

The Social Security rule is the final version of a proposal that we reported on earlier this year. Public outcry against the proposed rule was fierce, and the comment period drew over 91,000 responses, the vast majority of them opposing the plan.

NRA-ILA logo

The NRA itself submitted detailed comments, taking the proposed rule to task for its many legal problems, its lack of empirical support, and the way it would politicize the SSA’s functions and stigmatize its beneficiaries.

The SSA, however, essentially ignored the NRA’s comments and the tens of thousands of others pointing out problems with the plan and issued a final rule that in most key respects tracks the original proposal.

For example, the SSA did not attempt to answer most of the legal questions raised about its authority, instead deferring to an overbroad and problematic ATF regulation defining who counts under the federal Gun Control Act as a “mental defective” and to Department of Justice guidance on reporting. The SSA did not explain why, some two decades after the federal background check system came online, it was reversing its earlier determination about its reporting responsibilities and only now asserting a mandate to do so.

Incredibly, the SSA also brushed aside empirical evidence the NRA submitted suggesting that the proposed rule would have no public safety benefit. “We are not attempting to imply a connection between mental illness and a propensity for violence, particularly gun violence,” the SSA wrote. “Rather, we are complying with our obligations under the NIAA, which require us to provide information from our records when an individual falls within one of the categories identified in 18 U.S.C. 922(g).” This would seem to be the very definition of the sort of arbitrary and capricious rulemaking prohibited by the Administrative Procedures Act.

Brown box of Hornady Critical Defense 9mm ammo
The Hornady Critical Defense Lite expands perfectly and offers 10 to 11 inches of penetration through heavy clothing in ballistics gelatin.

The SSA also insisted that it was not stigmatizing those who receive disability insurance or SSI for mental health conditions, arguing that the names of the beneficiaries reported to NICS would not be made public. What the administration ignores is that it would stigmatize the entire category of beneficiaries subject to reporting.

The administration further acknowledges that the rule would not provide those subject to its terms the ability to defend their suitability to possess firearms before the actual loss of rights took place. In other words, it offers no due process on the question of losing Second Amendment rights.

Instead, the rule forces affected beneficiaries to file a petition for “restoration” of rights and to somehow prove their possession of firearms would not harm public safety or the public interest, even though the government never established, or tried to establish, the contrary. Regarding the expense of the psychological and medical evaluations required for this purpose, the administration claims it should be “reasonable,” although it does not and cannot claim it will actually be affordable to those who are affected by the rule.

The major parameters of the final rule are the same as those we detailed in an earlier alert on the proposal. It will affect those who receive SSI or disability insurance because of a listed mental health impairment and who have been assigned a representative payee to manage the benefits because of the person’s mental condition. The bottom line, however, is that tens of thousands of completely harmless, law-abiding people will lose their rights every year under the rule, a premise the SSA did not even try to refute.


The NRA has already prepared proposals for corrective action, and we certainly hope they will be given favorable consideration by the incoming administration.

In the meantime, this is one more reminder of the petty, partisan politics of Barack Obama, and one more reason to be thankful that in a few short weeks, he will no longer wield the power of the presidency against the nation’s law-abiding gun owners.

Do you think the new rules from the SSA will affect gun owners? Share your analysis in the comment section.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (47)

  1. FYI, a couple of the PDF links in your article are going to PDF’s in your downloads folder instead of internet accessible URLs.

    1. FOX is where it’s been for at least a year; carrying water for the CPUSA. They’re just the Conservative wing of Pravda West anymore.

  2. Rules, Regulations, and the Laws they hide behind; where andbwhen do those elected Overseers watch out for our interest.
    C’mon now, office seated Repub or Demo are two busy linng their own pockets while the bureaucrats hand them advice in between influence peddling for $’s.
    We have an out of control and very corrupt form of federal bureaucracy that actually governs, no, make thAt “Rules”, in favor of self and internal political movements.
    Movements that have benefits not for the populace at large but for elitist groups own agendas.
    ponce again remember it was Ronnie Raygun who told Repubs to vote for Brady Bill and loyalty to each other over rode their ConstitutionL responsability.

  3. Over the past few years, liberals have lost 1000s of state and local elections, lost a bunch of Governor spots, lost the House and the Senate, and finally the Presidency. They seem to be either too stupid to take a hint or are gluttons for punishment. I assure you, it’s a bad idea to mess with seniors and their Soc. Sec.. There are a lot of us out here who are fed up with this progressive liberal agenda. We will watch, take names, and vote wisely. Perhaps we can help to drain the swamp! I sure hope so.

  4. Tempest in a pot of tea. Here’s what the language looks like:
    “The Social Security Administration has indicated that it will begin the rulemaking process to include information in the background check system about beneficiaries who are prohibited from possessing a firearm for mental health reasons.”
    People with mental health problems have no business with a firearm, IMO.

    1. Depends on who defines “mental health problem” and what the definition is. There are a whole lot of people who may not have “mental health problems” who should not be allowed near firearms.

    2. @ PDH,

      You are wrong. It is hardly a “Tempest in a pot of tea”, when the Rule officially goes into effect on the January 18, 2017.

      I recommend you try actually reading the Rule before talking crap about something you apparently know absolutely nothing about. As I told CAPT Mike mckenna in his post, try doing some research before embarrassing yourself in public.

    3. @ PDH,

      I truly apologize if you are someone that is not functioning with all your mental faculties intact, but otherwise you are nothing short of idiotic for responding with, “I guess we’ll have to wait and see then, won’t we?”

      Whether intentional or through blunder, you are completely ignoring the simple fact that the Rule is no longer in the “proposal” stage. It was published long ago and will officially go into effect just 14 days from now. This is an irrefutable fact which I’ve clearly already pointed out to you; so there is simply nothing for you to “wait and see”.

      Rational persons capable of grasping this fact know your persistence in such ignorance is quite ridiculous. But your actions also become unacceptably careless when you intentionally misinform others – such as you did when you posted to CAPT Mike mckenna – by telling him “It’s just in the beginning phases and nothing has happened as of yet.”

      Nothing could be further from the truth and you need to stop.

      Obama intentionally timed the Rule to go into effect just 2 days before Trump’s inauguration. This action is a continuation of Obama’s temper-tantrum he’s been throwing on his way out of office ever since Trump won the election.

      The only thing to “wait and see” is if Trump can reverse the damage caused by the Rule. But it is definitely going into effect on January 18th, 2017. Since you can’t seem to use Google, below I’ve provided the official government link to the Rule which clearly shows its effective date as I’ve stated:

    4. G-Man

      Only if it doesn’t get sent to Obama’s desk first. And knowing Congress, their Dumb Enough to do it.

    5. @ Kadavergehorsam,

      I think you’ve misunderstood something here. There is nothing that would be sent to anyone’s desk at all. This is not a pending Bill waiting to be signed by a president; it is an official Administrative Rule that had already been written by the Social Security Administration years ago.

      The short story is that the Rule violates aspects of the Second Amendment and just before it was to be published (put into effect) by the SSA, Congress caught wind of it and sent the SSA Commissioner a letter requesting they stand down due to the Rule’s Constitutional violations.

      They SSA did stand down and began work on changing aspects of the Rule, but as part of Obama’s temper-tantrum as he leaves office, he decided to order the SSA to go ahead and publish the Rule as it is. The Rule officially goes into effect on January 18th, 2017 (11 days from now).

      By the time President Trump gets into office and is able to take any meaningful evasive action, most affected Social Security recipients names will have already been added into NICS and their Rights will have been violated. I hope this clears things up for folks.

    6. G-Man

      In there HAST to Ramrod Legislation Through for the Pending Inaugural. Congress might actually Pass the Bill though without Meaning too.

    7. @ Kadavergehorsam,

      Based on your last post I am absolutely certain now that you have completely misunderstood what’s really going on here. I’ve tried to explain it to you, but you continually show you are unable to grasp it. I want to say – never mind, but will try one last time to help you understand:

      There is no proposed Bill or pending legislation to hastily ramrod through the Legislature. This is an existing administrative law created by Obama through the Social Security Administration, not Congress. When the President creates this type of administrative laws it is known as a “Rule”.

      Obama has already signed this “Rule” into law using his executive powers and made it official by entering it into the National Registry. Plain and simple, IT IS A DONE DEAL!

      Furthermore, the date inscribed on the law is set to go into effect on January 18th, 2017 (8 days from now). There is absolutely nothing Congress can do to stop it short of filing for an emergency injunction in Federal Court. Otherwise they must wait for Trump to get into office and have him rescind the “Rule”.

      However, by then it will be too late because certain Social Security recipients’ names will have already been dumped into the NICS system which prevents them from lawfully owning or purchasing firearms. Please do not bother to respond again unless it is to write that you finally figured it out and get what I’ve been trying to tell you. Thanks.

  5. Just imagine all of the disabled vets who were sent to fight for our country.
    Who come home with their lives destroyed. And the government refuses to take care of them ?? The same government that taxed our income every payday for our future social security benefits. I have never read or seen any documentation stating that I can not receive the very benefits that I have paid for over my lifetime of work just because I may own a firearm under my Constitutional rights.

    1. As we all know a law, regulation or EO does not override the constitution. People choose to obey these unconstitutional laws that take away their constitutional rights. It is time to make our government obey the constitution.

  6. Publish the rule…I want to see the rule, or is thIs just another fake news scare?…just why are you getting all excited by fake news, or is this just a sample of what is to come under the trump administration?…mfm

    1. See my comment concerning the rule. It’s just in the beginning phases and nothing has happened as of yet.

    2. @ CAPT Mike mckenna,

      I’ll never understand some people – you can waste time bantering on about how you’ll consider this fake news unless you can see the Rule for yourself, yet the article provided links and references for you to go do exactly that – and read the actual rule before making a fool of yourself in a post.

      Granted the article’s link to the rule is broken, but with minimal effort I found it on my own. Why don’t you try that first and spare yourself the embarrassment next time?

  7. Sorry folks but it is time to set up some kind of underground arrangement because the government is doing whatever it takes to take away your rights. The 2nd amendment is just the starting point. Freedom to practice your religion is being discarded softly and out of sight primarily in the courts that are full of liberal hate America judges that are okaying taking away your right to free assembly and showing your beliefs in public. Of Courses the left and their disgusting parades in San Francisco with men and women having their private parts seen with their whips and chains on display are no problem for people. The country north of us have already done away with free speech and arrested Ministers for simple stating what the Bible says. So, you may slow the loss of your rights but you are still going to lose them because Trump and sanity may be in charge now but things keep changing as the crazy left finds more and more ways to avoid doing what is right, constitutional and best for the country. They will continue to be there trying to destroy this country and all it stands for.

    1. Do “”NOT”” do your “underground arrangement” here, or for that matter anywhere else on the internet, or with the use of cell phones!!! The reasons are numerous, and should be obvious. Irv.

  8. As with many solutions the libs come up with to force upon the populace, I predict this move will have just the opposite effect as they claim. So fierce is our belief that the 2nd Amendment is the actual foundation stone of our Constitution along with the fact that the additional stigma (having your weapons taken) that one would suffer if he/she were to need these benefits will actually result in far less people getting help under the new rules. Thus there will be more potential situations in the future than if they would just keep their dictatorial hands out of the proverbial pot.

  9. Where is the outrage from congressional republicans on this order? I havnt heard of one. Just like the IRS abuses. Lots of noise but no action. Every gun control act has violated the constitution with even the NRA behind some of the acts. Will things get better under Trump. If history is a guide the steady slope towards less democracy and more Marxism will continue. Only massive civil unrest and disobedience will wake up the politburo in Washington. And even then the response may be not change for the better but the use of FEMA camps to house the Americans who demand adherence to Constitutional Law.

    1. The Reeps are almost as guilty as the Dems in nailing us to the wall. America has voted in Reeps in record numbers, as a refutation of Barry O’s policies and they keep stabbing us in the back. That’s why Trump, because we saw someone who is real and not “experienced”. If those Reeps don’t perform, as I expect some will not, they will get tossed.

    1. I wholeheartedly agree with you, and for that matter any other issue with mental health, military related or not. Irv.

  10. Never paid a dime into SSI? No problemo:


    A non-citizen (also called an “alien” for immigration purposes) may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) if he or she meets the requirements of the laws for non–citizens that went into effect on August 22, 1996.

  11. I see many fine thoughts represented here in the comments and rightly so, the regulators at the SSI and SSA need to be culled or eliminated all together. But it’s not just here, our rights as law abiding citizens are under attack. This is where the need for, “Draining the Swamp”, is at it’s highest level. The government is full of these, poisonous snakes, known as regulators, who attack our freedoms in stealth mode behind the guise of filling in the holes of law while properly implementing legislation that are Constitutionally conceived. We need to be vigilant in holding up these instances that are blatant but also be watching at every level of government, as the regulators work against us, the freedom loving Americans. WE are under attack at every level. That’s city, county, state, and federal, they are all ladder climbers with a globalist agenda, who are self absorbed, servants to big government, tearing at our nations fabric, cause driven not concerned with the consequences to the people. They are government employees not just the rhinos who got elected. We need to get rid of the SEIU as it works against the will of the people and any and all vehicles that empowers these rodents within the government structure. Our 45th President has a monumental task in this, which will determine his success or failure. Pray for him, he will need it.
    Thank God for the NRA!

    1. Opie,
      “Thank God for the NRA!”
      If every gunowner joined, we would once again have a true two party system.

  12. Government telling people to give up their rifles and pistols that protect them from harm is like them telling people to give up their seat belts and airbags!

  13. If anything worthwhile or positive has resulted from the last eight years, it is ironclad proof that elections have real consequences and that liberals/leftists/Progressives/Democrats can never be trusted with control of government.

  14. Yeah, yeah, yeah that’s all fine and good, but think about trying to enforce the law by trying to take the weapons from “mentally defective” social security recipients many of whom are probably veterans and conservatives who may have major physical infirmities, a short time remaining on the planet and an attitude…and can still pull a trigger.

    1. Particularly if you saw the nightmare your children and grandchildren would inherit otherwise.

  15. Maybe it;s in the wording of “Empirical Evidence”? Which is either “Absolute Proof” or a “Lie”! No “Grey Areas”.

  16. It is news such as this that makes me think what all the past commenters are thinking now. I’m referring to the ones who so confidently posted here in an effort to antagonistically chide the rest of us about how we need to bust out our tinfoil hats for thinking Obama is coming after our guns.

    Their so called counter-proof has always been to smugly proclaim Obama never got around to conducting his overt door-to-door confiscations. My response to such claims has always proven it was still being done, but instead was accomplished through acts that quietly confiscated firearms.

    The reality is that Obama opted to subtly gnaw away at our right to bear arms through passive administrative means and executive actions, but it is still culminates into nothing short of out-right confiscations.

    I recall having to point out to these naysayers that just because such confiscations hadn’t personally affected them as of yet, there are still thousands of fellow citizens in courts across the country fighting for the return of their illegally confiscated firearms and related property.

    One particular naysayer was in denial after I pointed out the VA sent out letters in an effort to confiscate firearms from veterans. One vet in particular made headlines as the VA was set to follow the letter up with an ATF raid on his home for failure to comply; a threat so real that a pro-gun sheriff and his deputies posted guards outside the vet’s house which ultimately prevented the raid.

    All of this stemmed from Obama quietly ordering the VA to enter tens of thousands of veteran’s names into NICS just for having fiduciaries manage their VA funds. This occurred without regard to their mental state and without any formal adjudication process. Sadly most of these vets were talked into fiduciaries as a feature of convenience rather than necessity.

    Most people don’t understand that the moment they are entered into NICS, their right to bear arms is immediately denied. This even applies to all those vets currently lawfully possessing firearms, but once entered into NICS, thereafter they are automatically made into felons without their ever knowing it.

    I could not believe the number of commenters I’ve encounter that are in denial of these facts and wanted to argue. And worse is they’d double-down when I informed them of Obama’s forthcoming plan to do the same to social security recipients. They thought I was nuts.

    I imagine most of these commenters in denial were the same ones laughing at us and saying there wasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell Donald Trump would ever come close to getting nominated for President – let alone actually winning the election. Well now that it has all actually happened, I don’t think we should wonder any longer who should have the honor of wearing the tinfoil hats.

  17. First of all it is not O’bama’s SSA! It is a Federal Administration currently run by one of O’bama’s appointees or Stooges’. Also, I’ll bet dollars to donuts that this is another executive fiat or order. that The Donald will quash as soon as he is in office. It’s similar to O’bam’s “big Cost of living” raise that he gave SSA recipients this year. A .3% oost of living increase that just so happened to figure out to the exact amount that Medicare was increased this year so no one ACTUALLY got a damn cent for an increase!

  18. If it looks like a Communist, and it regulates like a Communist, and it smells like a Communist, it must be a Communist.

    Anyone out there who doesn’t by this time understand that whether you call ’em Democrats or Socialists or Progressives they are COMMUNISTS.

    Communism is responsible for more deaths that any other political movement in history and it is still going on today.

    Read “The Black Book of Communism.”

    1. Been saying that for years. Democrat Party aka CPUSA. GOP RINOs are the Ladies’ Auxiliary. See Skeon Clousen’s 45 Communist Goals from his 1958 book, “The Naked Communist”. Up until Comey gave La Clinton a “Get Out of Jail Free” card, they’d achieved 42 of the 45. Once he let her off the hook, #35 was achieved and now they only have 2 to go.

      Merry Christmas!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Your discussions, feedback and comments are welcome here as long as they are relevant and insightful. Please be respectful of others. We reserve the right to edit as appropriate, delete profane, harassing, abusive and spam comments or posts, and block repeat offenders. All comments are held for moderation and will appear after approval.