A legal team already fighting the Veterans Administration over bureaucratic procedures that arbitrarily deprive veterans of their Second Amendment rights now is warning the Social Security Administration, which is proposing the same process, that it still isn’t constitutional.
“As is the case with the VA’s so-called ‘adjudication process’ the proposed SSA regulations contain confusing and ambiguous definitions of who constitutes a ‘representative payee,’ the criteria for appointing such a payee, and why the appointment of such a payee automatically classifies a Social Security Disability Insurance beneficiary as mentally defective for the purpose of NICS,” said a comment letter submitted to the SSA.
It comes from Michael Connelly of the United States Justice Foundation.
“It also appears that the adjudication of a recipient as being mentally defective can be made by any federal bureaucrat working for the SSA, and they can make the decision without any medical professional being involved. The often vague and sometimes generalized criteria for this adjudication process described in the proposed regulations clearly denies the basic elements of due process to the affected social security beneficiaries.
“The burden of proving they are competent and/or not mentally defective falls squarely on the Social Security beneficiary. This means the bottom line for Social Security recipients is the same as that for veterans. They are being denied their right to keep and bear arms protected by the Second Amendment without due process of law.
“The proposed regulations should be withdrawn,” he wrote.
The fight is just one of several that governments are causing while bureaucrats try to remove Second Amendment rights from people under the Obama administration.
WND reported months back when the strategy targeting veterans appeared. Connelly has been working on the VA case since several veterans informed him they had been determined incompetent without a hearing and wanted to fight back.
That plan, just like the new proposal for the Social Security Administration, simply sends recipients of government benefits letters that they have been determined to be unable to handle their affairs, and appointing a fiduciary.
Then their names are sent to the National Instant Criminal Background Check system, which is used by governments to keep weapons out of the hands of felons, drug addicts, illegal aliens and others, as being not longer allowed to own weapons.
An estimated 4.2 million adults receive Social Security payments that are managed by “representative payees.”
Connelly had told WND earlier that if the government is successful in its restrictions on veterans and Social Security recipients, there will be other targets soon.
“They could go after student loan recipients. What about people getting food stamps? Medicaid? Potentially anybody working for any government contractor,” he warned at the time.
His original fight came after veterans contacted him.
“Veterans get the letter from the VA telling them that because of physical or mental disabilities they are going to be declared incompetent to handle their own financial affairs, and the VA will appoint a fiduciary for them. The veterans are given 60 days to prove they are competent, which is a direct violation of the due process clause of the Constitution that requires the burden of proof be on the government,” he wrote.
“In none of the cases that we know of has there been an adjudication process with a hearing before a judge or an administrative judge. Nor have the veterans in most cases been examined by a psychiatrist, psychologist or even an MD,” he continued. “[Then Attorney General]-Eric Holder decided that anyone who works for the VA can declare veterans incompetent for any reason including having their bills paid automatically out of their bank accounts.”
But his new comments to the SSA cite the constitutional issues.
“First and foremost, it infringes on the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms of these veterans who served honorably, and does so without any legitimate due process being given to these veterans,” he wrote. “Before their Second Amendment rights are unilaterally taken from then by bureaucratic action, the veterans receive a letter from the VA informing them that the VA is considering declaring them incompetent due to physical or mental disabilities. These disabilities are often not delineated in the original letter, and the veterans are instructed, erroneously, that the burden of proof is on them to prove that they are competent. USJF maintains that this effort to shift the government’s duty to show sufficient predicate for the loss of constitutional rights to the veteran constitutes a violation of the Fifth Amendment.”
Further, he said the government is using “minor PTSD, minor depression, and other such conditions,” to trigger the move.
“None of these so-called ‘disabilities’ appear to be grounds for being declared incompetent, much less put on the NICS list under the category of being a mental defective.
He said the SSA plan appears to be the same as the VA procedures already under challenge.
WND also reported recently on another government move, one that deprives foster parents of Second Amendment rights.
In the most recent case, a nurse in the Illinois state prison system wanted to buy a firearm after she was notified that inmates were using computer systems to look up the home addresses of prison staff members, including nurses.
“After the number of times we’ve had to take legal action in Illinois, including our landmark U.S. Supreme Court Second Amendment victory in McDonald v. City of Chicago six years ago, one would think the state would have wised up by now,” said Alan M. Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation, which is representing Kenneth and Colleen Shults.
“But here we are again, working with ISRA, fighting for the rights of law-abiding citizens in that state.”
ISRA is the Illinois State Rifle Association, which is joining as plaintiffs with SAF and the Shults.
WND reported on an SAF’s suit on behalf of Stephen and Krista Pursley of Moore, Oklahoma, against the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.
The state agency’s rules prevent citizens from serving as foster parents while “legally possessing functional firearms for personal protection.”
“This mandate for foster parents is not just restrictive, it’s ridiculous,” Gottlieb said when the conflict arose. “Why should a foster parent be stripped of his or her right to self-defense, or their ability to defend their foster child, simply to appease some bureaucrat’s anti-gun philosophy?”