This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, July 20, 2015:
When Marine Steven Overman’s Humvee hit an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) in Iraq in 2007, he was diagnosed not only with PTSD but with a brain injury sufficiently severe that the VA deemed him 100-percent disabled and incompetent to handle his financial affairs. His wife is now Overman’s fiduciary.
Under VA rules dating back to the installation of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), Overman couldn’t own any weapons. But after a year and a half of appeals, the VA relented and allowed him to regain possession of his guns.
Now the Obama administration has announced plans to require the Social Security Administration (SSA) to use the same rules to prohibit beneficiaries who use “representative payees” from owning firearms. These would include anyone unable to manage their own affairs due to “marked subnormal intelligence, or mental illness, incompetency, condition or disease.”
At first blush this appears to threaten the Second Amendment rights of 2.7 million people already receiving Social Security disability payments plus another 1.5 million whose finances, for various reasons, are being handled by others. But according to Social Security, 8.8 million disabled Americans get a monthly check, as do another 50 million retirees, dependents, and survivors. A total of 165 million workers are covered under Social Security.
Critics say that once the new rules are installed, anyone who can’t balance a checkbook could have their rights rescinded.
The effort to expand the VA definition to the SSA caught the National Rifle Association by surprise. But when notified of the threat, Chris Cox, the group’s chief lobbyist, declared, “The NRA stands ready to pursue all available avenues to stop them in their tracks.”
Following the Newtown shooting in December of 2012, President Obama unleashed a full-scale frontal assault on the Second Amendment, not only with proposed legislation that he urged Congress to adopt, but also with an executive order containing 23 “actions.” His legislative recommendations included requiring criminal background checks for all gun sales, reinstating the “assault” weapons ban that expired in 2004, limiting magazine capacities to 10 rounds, eliminating “armor-piercing” bullets, providing federal funds to pay for mental health services in public schools, spending government funds to hire more police officers, and instituting a federal gun trafficking statute.
His executive “actions” included requiring federal agencies to hand over to the NCIS all “relevant” data for its database, providing more training to federal officers for “active shooter” situations, and directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes of gun violence such as that unleashed by Adam Lanza in Connecticut.
Obama used every ounce of credibility he had left to push his anti-gun executive actions, declaring at the time, “I intend to use whatever weight this office holds to make them a reality.” He added:
I will put everything I’ve got into this and so will Joe [Biden]. But I tell you, the only way we can change is if the American people demand it.… This will not happen unless the American people demand it.”
A month later, in February 2013, he enlisted the assistance of his vice president to assemble a task force to dream up and send to Congress any conceivable measure that might restrict the Second Amendment rights of the people, all in the name of “curbing violence.” Biden included top brass from the Departments of Justice, Education, Health and Human Services, and Homeland Security, along with anti-gun groups and lawmakers.
After all of this, the American people, through their elected representatives, drop-kicked those legislative proposals into history’s waste basket, causing the president to lament in April this year that
What we’ve done is try to do as much administratively to tighten up how background checks are run, to go after illegal drug runners. But I tell you that trying to get something through Congress has proven to be very difficult.
And it’s heart-breaking.
Even the Huffington Post lamented that Obama suffered a “complete failure to pass even a single piece of [anti-gun] legislation,” with the exception of the renewal by Congress of a ban on the sale or possession of firearms that aren’t detectable by X-ray machines or metal detectors, such as 3-D printed firearms. This puts off for 10 years any serious discussion of further restrictions on that ban, during which time technology will continue to bring the cost and availability of making 3-D firearms down to the point where nearly everyone who cares can make his own at home.
There were other restrictions implemented by executive order, however, including requiring trusts owning firearms to go through a criminal background check, and eliminating the reimportation of firearms initially shipped abroad.
The enemy of the Second Amendment never sleeps nor rests. Eternal vigilance is still the price of freedom. The Obama administration may weep over its inability to persuade a recalcitrant Congress to enact its anti-gun agenda, but doing end runs around Congress that even vigilant observers at the National Rifle Association missed is still certainly within its capability and intention.