(Washington, DC) – Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) cosponsored a bill introduced by Idaho Senator Mike Crapo that protects Social Security beneficiaries from being stripped of their Second Amendment rights because of determinations used by the Social Security Administration about the management and payment of an individual’s benefits. The legislation is cosponsored by Senators Steve Daines (R-MT), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Dan Sullivan (R-AK).
In January 2013, the President issued a memorandum directing federal agencies – including the Social Security Administration – to gather and submit information to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) on individuals who may be determined to be what NICS refers to as “mentally deficient.” In order for an individual to be deemed “mentally deficient,” a court, board, or other lawful authority is required find that the person is a danger to themselves or others, or is unable to contract or manage their own affairs.
For some beneficiaries, the Social Security Administration will appoint someone to act as representative payee for a beneficiary who may need assistance to manage their benefits. This appointment is not made through a court of law and is not a determination of a beneficiary’s mental capacity. Under the President’s memorandum, the Social Security Administration could be required to report individuals who have been appointed a representative payee to NICS. Crapo’s bill prevents Social Security beneficiaries from being reported and protect their Second Amendment rights.
“I have long voiced my concerns with proposals from this Administration that could infringe on Nevadans’ right to bear arms. Never should the millions of responsible seniors and individuals in this country be arbitrarily discriminated against and denied their Second Amendment rights. I am proud to work with Senator Crapo on this important legislation, which protects the rights of law-abiding Social Security beneficiaries. I will continue fighting to ensure Americans’ constitutional rights are protected” said Senator Dean Heller.
Crapo introduced his bill today, which will be referred to the Senate Committee on Finance. Companion legislation, H.R. 3516 has been introduced in the House by Rep. Sam Johnson of Texas.