Collins Supports Bill to Restore Constitutional Liberties to Social Security Recipients


February 2, 2017

WASHINGTON—The House voted today on H.J.Res. 40, a joint resolution of disapproval of the Social Security Administration’s implementation of the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007 (NIAA), which effectively denies millions of Social Security recipients their Second and Fourth Amendment rights. Congressman Doug Collins co-sponsored this resolution, which passed today in the House by a vote of 235 – 180.

The Social Security Administration finalized this rule last December as the sun set on President Obama’s administration. Disability rights advocates, including the independent federal National Council on Disability, have maintained that the rule is discriminatory and unconstitutional.

The rule relating to the NIAA dictates that the name of any Social Security recipient who benefits from the support of a representative payee because of a mental impairment—which may be as mild as agoraphobia or anxiety—be reported to the National Instant Background Check System (NICS). Because individuals referred to the NICS database are disqualified from gun ownership, this move deprives individuals of their right to bear arms and to due process.

Individuals may choose to use a representative payee for any number of reasons, and there is no evidence that this decision should result in their being reported to NICS without recourse to challenge that decision before it goes into effect. Under this rule, Social Security recipients are able to appeal the decision only after their names have been added to the NICS database. As a result, the burden of proof for accessing their constitutional liberty weighs on those with limited resources.

“Federal bureaucrats have again used agency resources against the interests of U.S. citizens. The Social Security Administration pre-emptively stripped more than eight million Americans of their constitutional right to bear arms. This rule had nothing to do with safety, and everything to do with the previous administration’s anti-gun agenda. The right to bear arms is enshrined in the Constitution, and the Social Security Administration has no business evaluating or obscuring those rights.

“Wherever a person stands on firearms issues, this rule stigmatizes an entire community and should grieve everyone who values due process under the law,” said Congressman Collins.

H.J.Res. 40 provides for congressional disapproval of the Social Security Administration’s rule under the Congressional Review Act of 1996.

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