Issues

Congressman Introduces Bill to Protect Social Security Recipients’ Gun Rights

Legislation would end Obama admin efforts to stop millions of seniors from buying guns

Old woman with a gun
Old woman with a gun / AP

Rep. Sam Johnson (R., Texas) introduced a bill Wednesday designed to thwart Obama administration efforts to prevent millions of Social Security recipients from buying guns.

H.R. 3516, the Social Security Beneficiary Second Amendment Rights Protection Act, was submitted in response to a Los Angeles Times report that the Social Security Administration (SSA) planned to add recipients who had designated someone else to manage their finances to the National Instant Background Check System (NICS). That move would likely prohibit millions of Americans on Social Security from buying firearms.

Gun rights groups and Republican lawmakers have threatened legal and legislative action to stop Social Security from implementing the plan.

The introduction of the bill comes after members of the House’s Ways and Means Committee expressed their dissatisfaction with SSA’s response to a letter they had sent advising the agency to drop their plan. Though SSA assured the committee that it was not considering adding all recipients with representative payees to the background check system, it did admit it was planning to add some recipients.

Johnson, the chairman of the Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee, said the SSA plan was in response to President Obama's failure to pass his gun control agenda through congress.

"It’s no secret President Obama isn’t a fan of our Second Amendment," Johnson said in a statement to the Washington Free Beacon. "Because he failed to push his gun control agenda through Congress, his administration is now seeking to deny millions of law-abiding Americans their right to bear arms by going through Social Security. Old age or a disability does not make someone a threat to society."

He said those on Social Security should be afforded the same rights as everyone else and called the administration plan an overreach. "These folks should be able to defend themselves just like everyone else, and Social Security has no business stripping them of that right," Johnson said. "This bill puts a stop to yet another overreach by the Obama administration."

"I am committed to ensuring the rights of all Americans are protected."

Update 5:18 P.M.: The original headline for this post incorrectly stated that the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee introduced the legislation. Rep. Johnson is the chairman of the Social Security Subcommittee of the Ways and Means Committee, not of the entire committee.