No Guns for Social Security Recipients?

By Jeff Knox

Social Security Recipients
No Guns for Social Security Recipients?

Buckeye, AZ –-( The Los Angeles Times reported on Saturday that the Obama administration is pushing a plan to submit the names of up 4.2 million recipients of Social Security benefits to the FBI’s National Instant Check System, or NICS, the massive database used for criminal background checks on gun buyers.

Only “prohibited persons,” those for whom possession of firearms and ammunition is illegal under the Gun Control Act, are included in the NICS database.

Inclusion in NICS not only blocks gun sales to people on the list, it flags them as Prohibited Persons under the Gun Control Act, and that it is a felony for them to be in possession or have access to firearms or ammunition under any circumstances.

The law regarding “prohibited persons” has become increasingly broad over the past few decades.  It was originally passed as restrictions on violent felons, fugitives, people with dangerous mental disorders, and others who pose a significant threat to public safety, but in fact took away the rights of many non-violent offenders and people who would not be considered dangerous.  With the addition of the Lautenberg Amendment in the 1990s, the prohibition was expanded to include anyone convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.

Under this provision, a wife fined $25 for slapping a cheating husband’s face is barred from possession of firearms for life.

The law (USC Title 18, Section 922, subsection g.) also prohibits possession of guns or ammunition by anyone “who has been adjudicated as a mental defective or who has been committed to a mental institution.”

Note the key word “adjudicated.”  While most reasonable people would interpret that to mean a ruling from a court, the implementing regulations for this law use a much broader definition.  Under the Federal Code of Regulations (27 C.F.R. § 478.11) the relevant section reads as follows:

“(1)  A determination by a court, board, commission, or other lawful authority that a person, as a result of marked subnormal intelligence, or mental illness, incompetency, condition, or disease:

  • Is a danger to himself or to others; or

  • Lacks the mental capacity to contract or manage his own affairs.”

Many years ago, under Clinton, the Veterans Administration, began submitting the names of veterans and dependent beneficiaries to NICS, whom they said met that definition of “mentally defective,” including anyone who is not considered able to manage their VA benefits.  Anyone who has had a fiduciary – usually a spouse, parent, or other relative – designated to manage their VA account, is added to NICS and considered a Prohibited Person.

The VA makes this “incompetence” determination, not through a court or commission, but through its own bureaucratic process.  There is no judge, or even a determination from a physician required, and the VA determination of incompetence is not binding on any other aspect of the person’s life.  A person rated as “mentally incompetent” under the VA can still enter into contracts, buy and sell real estate, incorporate a business, marry, divorce, or even adopt a child.

The only things they can’t do are sign VA-related documents or purchase or possess firearms or ammunition.

The Social Security Administration standards for “incompetence” are similar, it is merely a bureaucratic finding that the person’s interests are best served by having their benefits processed through what they call a “Representative Payee” rather than going directly to the beneficiary.

If the Obama administration gets their way, all of these people will also be prohibited from ever possessing a firearm or ammunition – even under close supervision – for the rest of their lives.

For most people, a determination of incompetence and the assignment of a fiduciary results in additional financial benefits.  Both the VA and Social Security see this as an additional disability and they increase benefit payments accordingly.  In the VA system, this can result in monthly benefit payments going up as much as $1000 per month or more.  That can be a pretty strong incentive for a person to go along with, or even seek, an incompetency determination.  Some people, when they discover that this is going to cost them their right to arms, have tried to fight the system, but saving their rights means giving up the additional financial assistance – and that can be a tough choice. (read financial coercion)

Nobody wants violent lunatics and suicidal individuals to get their hands on guns, but infringing on the rights of millions of innocent, harmless citizens is by no means a reasonable way for the VA or Social Security to attempt that.

The Republicans failed to address this problem when they controlled both houses of Congress and the White House, but they have had a bill in congress every session for the past five years called the Veterans Second Amendment Protection Act, which would correct VA’s dangerous overreach by requiring an actual adjudication that a person is a danger to themselves or others, before firearms rights could be revoked.  Now that they once again control Congress, things aren’t looking much better.  The bill only has four House co-sponsors.

If you are outraged by this situation, your elected representatives need to hear from you.  The VA practice needs to be stopped, and it must not be allowed to spread to Social Security or other government programs.  You can reach your Senators and Representative through their and links, or by calling 202-224-3121.

The Firearms Coalition is a loose-knit coalition of individual Second Amendment activists, clubs and civil rights organizations. Founded by Neal Knox in 1984, the organization provides support to grassroots activists in the form of education, analysis of current issues, and with a historical perspective of the gun rights movement. The Firearms Coalition is a project of Neal Knox Associates, Manassas, VA. Visit:

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The President put a “Piggy-Back Rider” on a Presidential Memorandum, NOT an Executive Order (Two Different Species). Congress is trying to Dismantle Everything, from Food for Senior’s, Emegency Food Funds, US. Postal Service Retirement Funds, VA. Benefits, etc. This “Rider” can be removed, one problem though. You can’t Kill one program, without Killing the OTHER. The President, wan’ts to see How Far Congress Is Willing To Go To GUT a Program.


This SENIOR saw him for what he is; a pompous low-life who can’t stand OUR Constitution, Bill of Rights, or the fact that this country was founded on Christian beliefs, and not to be ruled by any band of renegade Jihadist’s! Unless our elected representatives pull their craniums out of their posteriors, BHO will most definitely destroy the United States of America as we know it, in his quest to “level the playing field” FOR the rest of the world!

Dr Timothy-Allen Albertson

SSA does nor increase payments for a person who has been determined to need a Representative Payee. Its benefits are not based on percentages as are those of he VA.

Bob Shell

Seniors voted for Obama both times so……. Wait until Obama care fully kicks in maybe they will regret voting for a commie. You vote for bad government don’t complain when you get it


Not all seniors voted for the idiot and actually I believe you are dead wrong as most seniors saw him for what he is and that is a traitor and Muslim commie in sheep’s clothing that’s is dead set on destroying this democratic country we once were so proud of but now are ashamed to call America.

It is the young uninformed voter that only saw the words CHANGE and jumped on the band wagon with him.

L J Larson

Its not the guns its OBAMA .

Dick Falat

This article is seriously flawed. Social Security law has a clear differentiation between “incompetence” and “incapability.” One refers to a mental deficiency while the other simply refers to a lessor condition — an inability to manage one’s own finances. Incapability determinations are made by Social Security adjudicators (mostly under the job title of “claims representatives”). Incompetency determinations, on the other hand, must be made by a much higher source. It scares me that we are all working ourselves up over this issue because of writers who don’t understand this critical difference. I have yet to read anything that clearly defines… Read more »


The administration believes it is PRIMA OLD FACeIA evidence that these individual are too incontinent to wipe or use a gun.