Feb 24, 2016

CCD Opposes President's Gun Control Plan

     The Coalition for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), the major umbrella organization of disability-related organizations in the United States, has released a letter it sent to Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor to the President, after a meeting concerning the White House plan to have the Social Security Administration relay information about some individuals who have been appointed representative payees so that they might be prevented from buying guns. CCD opposes the plan because they believe that it would stigmatize those disabled by mental illness.
     I am aghast at the CCD position. Do they have any idea how difficult it is to be approved for Social Security disability benefits due to mental illness? Maybe they just accepted without question the talking points of the National Rifle Association (NRA). The NRA wants people to think that you get a representative payee if you're suffering from any mental illness. False. Only a small minority of those suffering from mental illness get a representative payee. The NRA wants you to think you get a representative payee if you're illiterate. False. No one at Social Security is going to even think about going to the trouble of appointing a representative payee merely because a person is illiterate. The NRA wants you to think that you get a representative payee if you're not good at math. False. It takes far more than that to get a representative payee. Those who are appointed representative payees are really, really sick people. I'd guess that most schizophrenics don't end up with a representative payee. People who end up with a representative payee are generally people who are very severely impaired by mental illness. We're talking about people who shouldn't be driving a car much less owning a firearm.
     I've got an idea, CCD. Why don't we abolish involuntary commitment? The existence of a process which can take away a person's liberty due to mental illness creates a much greater stigma than reducing access to guns. How about it, CCD? If you're not worried about paranoid schizophrenics buying guns, why should you worry about paranoid schizophrenics who threaten to kill themselves or others? Most of those who threaten to kill themselves or others won't do it. Why do we need to stigmatize them by locking them up?

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

What a let down, CCD!

Anonymous said...

Charles, I disagree with you completely on this one (first time ever totally disagreeing). As a long-time social security employee, I know the criteria for appointing a representative payee are totally different from those which would indicate homicidal/suicidal tendencies. Rep payees can be appointed, or not appointed, based on the judgment of your friendly local Claims Representative -- who has no training in psychology/psychiatry/HI or SI. Rep payees are appointed for those who are not capable of handling their funds wisely, such as those who cannot understand that food & shelter must be paid first. Rep payees may be appointed for who can't do math -- because they can't handle money. The questions on the doctor's statement which SSA often solicits relate to ability to manage funds, not HI/SI tendencies.
The Administration needs to go back to the drawing board on this one. Just because a person cannot balance a checkbook, does not say anything about whether he/she is a danger to self or others. That judgment needs to be made by a medical professional who is evaluating for HI/SI.

Anonymous said...

Completely wrong, Charles. Some people can't count change and get a payee; I've even seen people with closed period awards get a payee. I often see people with previous substance abuse issues for as little as marijuana get a payee recommendation from the ALJ. A lot of employees will go with that reco, even though that is not the issue being appealed and it should not be the entirety of the claims rep determination. Considering the variance in payee determination amongst claim reps, It will be a nightmare if SSA keeps the same process for determining a payee if gun ownership is tied to SSA's payee process.

Anonymous said...

@511

Someone who can't count change shouldn't be permitted to own a gun

Gunner Jacky said...

Thanks for the post. People having guns is not a big deal but maintaining the safety of others and yourself without harming anyone is a big issue. They are supposed to be a safety device for you and others and not a killing machine.
Regards:
MA Gun License

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Me said...

I signed on as rep payee for a relative because he is physically sick with a long rehab and can't get to the SSA office to deal with the overpayment (in the hospital over 3 months for physical illness so he retroactively lost benefits) or bank. He has mental illness but competent, it is the physical problems at issue. I don't think rep payee is finalized and going to call SSA and cancel it. A person should have to be adjudicated incompetent by a judge. Firearms ownership is a civil right, supreme court says so, whether a person agrees with the decision or not. We are rural and use firearms for hunting and target shooting. He doesn't deserve to be in a database because he got an infection and septic shock, which is a horrific illness.

Anonymous said...

Constitution Says so.