On Tuesday, President Donald Trump signed a congressional resolution that axed what many Second Amendment advocates call President Obama’s “Social Security Gun Ban.”
The ban was eight years in the making in the Obama Administration, but after the terroristic mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif. in December of 2015, Obama signed an executive order instructing the Social Security Administration to comb the files of Americans who receive disability payments. Those who were deemed mentally defective were reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which would add them to the FBI list of people disallowed from gun ownership.
That’s not a club to which most Americans, even those who are mentally ill, want to belong.
The Obama rule was finalized by the Social Security Administration near the end of December, 2016 and would have taken effect at the end of this year. But by the end of February, Trump had shot it down with his pen.
The National Rifle Association didn’t care for the rule and fought it, as expected. Even the ultra-liberal American Civil Liberties Union couldn’t stomach the order, which applied to any number of disabilities — mental, emotional, or physical.
For example, you could have anxiety, anorexia, sleeping disorders, or any number of vaguely defined problems, and if someone was handling your finances for you and you were receiving Supplemental Security Income, you were deemed too dangerous to own a gun or ammunition — for protection, hunting, collection, investment or any other reason.
The only way to get your gun back was to prove to the government, at your own expense, that you weren’t crazy. Good luck with that, gun right advocates said.
Second Amendment defenders noted that Obama focused on guns instead of the radicalization of the Muslim husband and wife duo who killed 14 people and wounded 21 others in San Bernardino. Syed Farook and his wife, Tashfeen Malik opened fire at a holiday gathering of Farook’s co-workers on Dec. 2, 2015, massacring 14 and wounding 22 at a government office. The two then died in a shoot-out with police.
They were not mentally disabled Social Security recipients. They were radical anti-Americans.
But, in the words of President Obama’s former Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that — it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”
In Alaska, Democrat Rep. Geran Tarr has introduced similar legislation to remove weapons and ammunition from people if family members or law enforcement officers believe they are a threat to themselves or others.
HB 75 would let judges make the call and take guns away from people temporarily through a protective order. It is in House Judiciary, where it awaits a hearing. Tarr’s bill, at this writing, has no co-sponsors.