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Congressman Ralph Abraham

Representing the 5th District of Louisiana

Abraham bill to overturn Obama gun regulation passes House

February 2, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON -  A bill authored by Congressmen Ralph Abraham, M.D., R-La., and Sam Johnson, R-Texas, to defend the Second Amendment rights of Social Security beneficiaries passed the U.S. House of Representatives today, Feb. 2.

The bill, H.J. Res. 40, provided for the Congressional disapproval of a regulation issued in the midnight hours of the Obama administration that would strip thousands of Social Security beneficiaries of their Second Amendment rights. 

The regulation required that the Social Security Administration automatically report any beneficiary who receives assistance managing their finances due to a mental disability to the FBI to be entered into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Entry into that system would mean those beneficiaries forfeited their rights to possess and purchase firearms. 

Dr. Abraham and Rep. Johnson’s bill used the Congressional Review Act to rescind the regulation.

“This rule allows for bureaucrats to strip disabled people of their Second Amendment rights without due process. The Constitution applies to all Americans, including disabled Americans, and I’m proud to see my colleagues stand up for them by passing this bill today,” Dr. Abraham said.

The regulation has been widely criticized by gun owners’ rights groups, disabled Americans’ rights groups, and civil liberties groups.

“The current public dialogue is replete with inaccurate stereotyping of people with mental disabilities as violent and dangerous, and there is a real concern that the kind of policy change encompassed by this rule will reinforce those unfounded assumptions,” wrote Helena R. Berger, President and CEO of the American Association of People with Disabilities.

“Reporting law-abiding, non-dangerous individuals to NICS and forcing them, as a condition of removal, to provide they are not a threat to society is inconsistent with the (Gun Control Act), the Second Amendment and basic due process,” wrote Chris W. Cox of the National Rifle Association.

“We oppose this rule because it advances and reinforces the harmful stereotype that people with mental disabilities, a vast and diverse group of citizens, are violent. There is no data to support a connection between the need for a representative payee to manage one’s Social Security disability benefits and a propensity toward gun violence,” wrote the Faiz Shakir, director of the Washington Legislative Office of the American Civil Liberties Union.

The resolution must now pass the Senate. It requires only a majority vote to pass. A companion bill has been introduced by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.