Recently, United Cerebral Palsy submitted comments regarding the implementation of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) and the potential impact on individuals with mental disabilities.
The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking concerning “Implementation of the NICS Improvements Act of 2007” is a proposed rule with no solid foundation. It incorrectly assumes that there is a connection between an increased risk of engaging in gun violence and having a representative payee to manage one’s Social Security benefits due to an impairment found on a “mental impairment” listing.
Four main reasons to urge Social Security Administration (SSA) to withdraw the proposed rule and why United Cerebral Palsy opposes it:
First, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) requires the reporting of an individual to the FBI NICS database if they “lack the capacity to contract or manage his own affairs” as a result of “marked subnormal intelligence, or mental illness, incompetency condition or disease.” Having a representative payee does not meet this standard.
Second, this would create an ineffective strategy to address gun violence. It assumes that those with mental impairments are potential perpetrators of gun violence. It would create a false sense that meaningful action has been taken to address gun violence.
Third, this would perpetuate the incorrect association of mental disabilities with gun violence. This could dissuade people with mental impairments from seeking appropriate treatment or services, or from applying for financial aid and medical assistance programs.
Fourth, it would create new burdens on the SSA without providing new resources. This proposed rule would divert scarce resources away from the core focus of the SSA.
See the formal comments here.