Comments Submitted on Proposed Social Security Disability Rule Addressing the Mentally Ill, the FBI and Access to Firearms
July 18, 2016
The Social Security Administration should not be in the business of deciding who can and cannot own a gun. This is so far removed from both the original and current mission of the agency. However, the Social Security Administration is, pun intended, under the gun. There is a federal mandate by which the agency must abide. That said, the SSA-2016-0011 is well thought out, legally sound, and accomplishes what it set out to do. Whether this will actually reduce violence and save lives is anyone's guess. That is another discussion. My concerns are how this might negatively affect the Social Security Administration and those it is supposed to help. The saying is the devil is in the details. I am a Social Security Disability Attorney and before that I worked with various government and nonprofit social service agencies for more than twenty years. My thoughts and concerns are based upon this experience.
How is a person who is suffering from a mental illness even going to be able to most effectively defend themselves without any Attorney if they want to have the Hearing to have themselves removed from the NICS? Is the 2nd Amendment that important a Constitutional right that they might require an Attorney at any such Hearing? Who is going to pay these Attorneys? Are these Hearings going to be added on to the workload of the already overburdened Social Security Administrative Law Judges? What if the same piece of evidence that helps someone get off the NICS could potentially get them to lose their Disability? Does the Social Security Administration have any idea or an estimate of how many individuals each year would automatically meet the criteria for automatic inclusion onto the NICS? How much money is the Social Security Administration going to need each year to implement this? Having worked with a lot of mentally ill people I am going to fathom a guess that there are a significant percentage who are going to fight their being listed on the NICS regardless of whether they even are going to purchase a gun or not and even if they have next to no case. I wish I could be the now deceased famous late-night infomercial Psychic Ms. Cleo to predict how this will all play out.
Like everyone in this country I want less killing and less violence. I am not convinced though the involving the Social Security Administration is either a smart or effective way of doing this. It appears to be a done deal though so I just ask that as the Social Security Administration and other policymakers proceed that they take my concerns into consideration.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!