Congressman Introduces Bill to Block Social Security Gun Grab

Older Caucasian woman practicing with gun at shooting range (Blend Images via AP Images)Steve Smith/Blend Images

A Texas congressman has introduced a bill designed to thwart what the NRA has called the largest gun grab in American history.

In July, we reported on a White House plan to restrict up to 4.2 million Social Security recipients from owning firearms, specifically those who have their finances managed by a designated friend or family member. Their names would be reported to the FBI's National Instance Criminal Background Check System (NICS), effectively prohibiting them from possessing or buying firearms.

Rep. Sam Johnson introduced H.R. 3516, otherwise known as the Social Security Beneficiary Second Amendment Rights Protection Act, this week in response to a Los Angeles Times report on the potential Social Security Administration change, according to this story from freebeacon.com.

The introduction of the bill comes after members of the House's Ways and Means Committee, which makes decisions regarding the funding of various government agencies, including SSA, expressed their dissatisfaction with the agency's response to a letter they had sent advising them to drop the plan, the story says.

Johnson is the Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee chairman, according to waysandmeans.house.gov.

"It's no secret President Obama isn't a fan of our Second Amendment," Johnson said in a statement to freebeacon.com. "Because he failed to push his gun control agenda through Congress, his administration is now seeking to deny millions of law-abiding Americans their right to bear arms by going through Social Security. Old age or disability does not make someone a threat to society."

The NRA's Institute for Legislative Action has praised Johnson's swift action.

"If left to their own devices, President Obama's Social Security Administration would be free to implement the largest gun grab in American history," said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA-ILA . The NRA appreciates Chairman Johnson's swift action to put a halt to this outrageous scheme..."

"No determination by the Commissioner of Social Security with respect to an individual, including a determination that benefits under this title to which such individual is entitled shall be paid to a representative payee, shall be considered to be a determination that the individual has been adjudicated as a mental defective…"

You can read the full text of the bill here, along with a letter to Johnson from the National Council on Disability that says that it commends the bill's "intent to rightly delink one's need for a representative payee with a presumption of incapacity to exercise a Constitutionally protected right. NCD has consistently expressed concern about the conflation of mental health disabilities with gun violence as a myth ,which…exacerbates harmful stereotypes…"

"These folks should be able to defend themselves just like everyone else," Johnson added. "And Social Security has no business stripping them of that right. This bill puts a stop to yet another overreach by the Obama administration."