Daines Introduces Legislation to Protect Montanans’ Second Amendment Rights from Bureaucratic Overreach

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Senator Steve Daines today introduced legislation to stop bureaucratic attempts to strip Social Security beneficiaries of their Second Amendment rights.

S.2495, which Daines cosponsored with nine other senators, would prevent information gathered by the Social Security Administration regarding the management and payment of an individual’s benefits from being used to prevent an individual from purchasing a firearm. 

“The Obama administration is once again infringing on the rights of law-abiding gun owners,” Daines stated. “This is a violation of both Americans’ Second Amendment rights and our right to due process. It’s deplorable that government bureaucrats can strip Americans of their constitutional freedoms without any recourse.”

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 defective,” a court, board, or other lawful authority is required to 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.  

This bill would prevent Social Security beneficiaries from being reported to the NICS and protect the individuals’ Second Amendment rights.  

The legislation is sponsored by Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) and is cosponsored by Senators Mike Enzi (R-WY), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Dean Heller (R-NV), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Dan Sullivan (R-AK).

Companion legislation, H.R. 3516 has been introduced in the House by Rep. Sam Johnson of Texas.