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Congress set to overturn recent gun restriction

A previous post on this blog discussed a regulation that prevented certain Newark residents on Social Security disability for qualifying mental conditions from being able to own a gun. The rule did not apply to all people with a mental illness disability but only to those whom the Social Security Administration had appointed a representative payee.

In a measure that the President indicates he will sign, Congress has overturned this regulation by statute, citing Second Amendment concerns as well as concerns that the regulation wrongly implied that mentally ill people all have violent tendencies and cannot be trusted with weapons. Although the vote on this measure was largely on partisan lines, some Democratic politicians crossed the aisle to support this measure being urged by Republicans.

Technically speaking, the regulation did not directly ban mentally ill disability recipients from owning a gun. What it did was require the names of those subject to the regulation to be forwarded to a nationally database. Sellers of guns would then search the national database, and these recipients of Social Security would then be flagged and, provided the gun seller was following federal law, would likely not be able purchase a firearm.

For now, however, the regulation seems doomed to be overturned via Congressional action, a step which Congress, as the ultimate overseer of the Social Security disability program, has the power to take when it does not like the regulatory decisions of the Administration.

Legal developments coming from both Congress and the Social Security Administration can, as in this case, affect the lives of hundreds or even thousands of disabled New Jersey residents. Because Social Security changes constantly, it may be important for disabled Newark residents with disability questions or concerns to seek professional legal advice.

Source: Newsweek, "Trump set to overturn a mental health regulation on gun purchases," Michele Gorman, Feb. 15, 2017.

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