This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, December 26, 2016:
The Nuremberg Defense was developed following the Second World War in an attempt to reduce the sentences of those convicted of heinous crimes ordered by their superiors. The Social Security Administration (SSA) used a variation to deflect criticism over its “final” rules regarding adding names of certain beneficiaries to the NICS – the National Instant Criminal Background Check System:
We are not attempting to imply a connection between mental illness and a propensity for violence, particularly gun violence.
Rather, we are complying with our obligations under the NIAA [NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007], which require us to provide information from our records when an individual falls within one of the categories identified in 18 U.S.C. 922(g) [“It shall be unlawful … for any person … to deal in firearms…”].
When the rules were proposed back in April, the SSA used the same approach to explain why, all of a sudden, and out of the blue, the agency decided it was time to add those suffering from “mental illness” to the NICS. After all the NICS has been around since 1998.
Just following orders, said the SSA. Those were “executive” orders issued by President Obama dating back to 2013, demanding that heads of all agencies determine how gun violence might be reduced by adding the names of various dangerous – or prospectively dangerous – individuals to NICS, thus removing their Second Amendment rights to keep and bear arms. It also precluded any necessity for the SSA to explain just how that decision could be made in violation of the Fourth Amendment’s guarantee of due process.
Just following orders, sir, just following orders.
It doesn’t matter that the agency received more than 90,000 responses to the proposed rules issued back in April, most of them negative. It didn’t matter that there is no provable link between someone adjudged to have “mental illness” and gun violence. Or, for that matter, any provable link between someone getting help in managing their financial affairs and his propensity to gun violence.
It took serious digging into the original proposed rules to answer the question: just how is one adjudged to be “mentally ill”:
Under the proposed rule, we [SSA bureaucrats] would identify, on a prospective basis, individuals who received Disability Insurance Benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act … or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments under Title XVI of the Act.
And just how would that identification take place, exactly? On Page 19 the question is answered in part:
If we have information that the beneficiary has a mental or physical impairment that prevents him or her from managing or directing the management of benefits, we will develop the issue of capability.
And what is this “issue of capability”? That is found in a footnote at the bottom of page 19, referring one to the rules by which said SSA bureaucrat determines whether said beneficiary is capable of handling his or her own affairs or not:
Does the individual have difficulty answering questions, getting the evidence or information necessary to pursue the claim, or understanding explanations and reporting instructions?
If so, do you think this difficulty indicates the beneficiary cannot manage or direct the management of [his or her] funds?
Once that determination is made by a nameless, faceless, unaccountable bureaucrat buried deep inside the walls of the SSA, precious rights guaranteed under the Constitution disappear.
The rule is the camel’s nose under the tent. Thanks to mission creep, the camel will soon be inside the tent. Why limit just those receiving disability or SSI benefits to the illegal sanction? Why not put everyone’s name in NICS who has a bookkeeper helping him? And why not expand the definition of mental illness to include everyone who disagrees with the rule?
In the meantime, this is one more reminder of the petty, partisan politics of Barack Obama, and one more reason to be thankful that in a few short weeks he will no longer wield the power of the presidency against the nation’s law-abiding gun owners.