The Social Security Administration (SSA) is proposing that they report people who are receiving disability benefits because of a mental illness to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) background check system. This proposition would end up barring many people with a mental illness diagnosis from owning firearms.
Mental illness is a broad term these days which encompasses far more than disorders such as schizophrenia or psychosis.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) came under attack for barring many military veterans from owning firearms on dubious grounds of mental illness. According to Republican Senator Chuck Grassley from Iowa, a person could be considered by the VA to be “mentally ill” if he had trouble managing his finances.
If a veteran were to seek any help at all from a VA mental health professional for anything ranging from having trouble sleeping to PTSD, that’s all that’s needed in order for that veteran to establish a “history of mental illness.” Once that happens, if he has any firearms, they will be confiscated by the police with little or no recourse in having them returned. Otherwise, if he has no firearms, he will be barred from ever owning a gun.
Senator Grassley fears that the SSA will be doing the same thing that the VA has already done to thousands of military veterans, and it stems from a loose definition of mental illness. The Hill reported:
According to Grassley, 99 percent of the people the FBI prohibits from owning guns because they are considered “mentally defective” come from the VA.
Now, the SSA is proposing to take similar precautions with people who receive disability insurance because they are unable to work due to mental health disorders.
“It appears that just like the VA, SSA’s regulatory action will not require the government to first prove that the individual is a danger to self or others,” Grassley wrote last July in a letter to Carolyn Colvin, acting commissioner of the Social Security Administration.
“Is the SSA using the VA’s regulatory standard as a template for reporting names to the [FBI]?” he asked. “If not, in what ways is the SSA’s regulatory scheme different from the VA’s?”
The public has 60 days to comment about the proposal.
The more people are on some kind of government welfare, the easier it is for the government to strip those people of their 2nd Amendment rights. This is less about protecting people by keeping guns out of the “wrong hands” and more about the government’s desire to confiscate everyone’s guns. Mental illness is just the excuse. If you don’t put your faith in the State, then they’ll call you mentally ill. If you do put your faith in the State, then you have no need for the 2nd Amendment.