PolitiFact.com Gets Obama’s Social Security Gun Grab Proposal Wrong

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The following is an email blast from NRA-ILA:

A recent Politifact article attempted to fact check news reports about the Obama Administration’s effort to strip the gun rights of millions of Americans who receive Social Security and disability benefits who also have a representative payee – someone who handles their finances. PolitiFact failed to consult the most relevant source of all for their story – federal law. As a result, they got it wrong . . .

Politifact’s website identifies the writer as a “Politifact intern.”

The following PolitiFact claims are FALSE:

“The new policy would not ban all Social Security Administration (SSA) recipients from owning guns. Rather, it would only affect the small fraction who are deemed mentally incompetent, and who are thus are barred from purchasing guns under the law.”

“The policy would not take away guns from people who already own them. There is no indication that this policy would take guns away from people who already own guns. Rather, the policy would affect the ability of some mentally incompetent people from buying new guns.”

The facts:

  • Social Security Administration recipients who have a representative payee have not been deemed “mentally incompetent.” That is not a legal term recognized in federal law as it relates to prohibitions against acquiring or possessing firearms.
  • The federal prohibitions against acquiring or possessing firearms apply to those “adjudicated as a mental defective.”
  • Under the proposed new policy, individuals who have representative payees would lose the right to possess any guns they might currently own and would be prohibited from purchasing new firearms.
  • The term “adjudication,” refers to a determination made after a judicial-type process that includes various due process protections. In no case does the federal law describe or contemplate the type of prohibition by bureaucratic fiat exercised by the SSA in developing its guidelines for those with “representative payees” assigned to their accounts.
  • The SSA’s representative payee system is not the type of process envisioned by federal firearms statutes.
  • Since 1968, federal law has barred the possession or acquisition of firearms by anyone who “has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to any mental institution.”[1]
  • The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has issued regulations that define an “adjudication” as a “determination by a court, board, commission, or other lawful authority that a person is, as a result of marked subnormal intelligence, or mental illness, incompetency, condition, or disease: (1) Is a danger to himself or to others; or (2) Lacks the mental capacity to contract or manage his own affairs.” This includes a finding of insanity or incompetency in a criminal case.[2]
  • “Committed to a mental institution” is defined as a “formal commitment of a person to a mental institution by a court, board, or other lawful authority.” The definition makes clear that “[t]he term does not include a person in a mental institution for observation or a voluntary admission.”  The Supreme Court has held that an involuntary commitment is a serious deprivation of liberty that requires due process of law under the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.[3]
  • Common reasons SSA beneficiaries request a representative payee include:
  1. individual lives far from banks and grocery stores and may wish to have a family member or friend make bank deposits and grocery purchases for them;
  2.  individual may not own a car and needs help with banking and shopping;
  3. individual may simply want help paying bills, or
  4.  individual may not be good at balancing their checkbook

[1] 18 U.S.C. §§ 922(d)(4), (g)(4).

[2] 27 CFR § 478.11.

[3] Addington v. Texas, 441 U.S. 418 (1979).


  1. avatar JasonM says:

    Given the quality of intern written software I’ve seen at Amazon and Microsoft, I’m not surprised interns can’t fact check worth a damn either.

    1. avatar PhilWilson says:

      You wouldn’t expect interns to be pros. But you would expect that, in any half-way responsible organization, a pro would check their work before releasing it.

      1. avatar Rokurota says:

        Did you say “responsible?” I think you misspelled “biased.”

  2. avatar KarlS says:

    One only has to go to the intern’s page on Politifact.com and look at how he has scored things in the past to see where his biases lie.

    His “fact checking” is a little lite on the “checking” piece…

    1. avatar Stinkeye says:

      Ain’t so great on the “fact” part, either, it seems.

  3. avatar Grindstone says:

    Has there been any response from Politifact?

  4. avatar Richard in WA says:

    “Relax, no one is taking your guns.”

    First they came for the pensioners…

    1. avatar E762 says:

      Between this, the recent attempts to strip veterans of their rights en masse, and what’s going on in NY and Chicago, I do not know how *anyone* can use the “No one’s coming for your guns” line and keep a straight face.

      1. avatar BDub says:

        Oh its easy. You simply have to remain uninformed.

  5. avatar James says:

    Shocking. A sham independent operation set up by the biased media to try to maintain the media’s influence, they’d never use this to try to hide their actual bias as fact checking. Politifact, an out and out fraud perpetrated by an agenda driven main stream media. They should be in prison next to Bernie Madoff.

  6. avatar John J. Jones says:

    So it’s okay for a nutjob, chronic alcoholic, and/or drug addict to own guns as long as the courts haven’t made those determinations. Man, the gun lobby has really made me feel better! A person can be so loony that he doesn’t know how to write a check, can’t pay his rent and doesn’t recognize his daughter, but he can damn sure walk down the street with a gun. Hallelujah! Three cheers for the NRA/Arms manufacturers lobby, which is all the NRA is good for. Making sure Gun manufacturers have more people to sell guns to. We don’t care if they’re blind or crazy, as long as the have money.

    1. avatar Mister Fleas says:

      “So it’s okay for a nutjob, chronic alcoholic, and/or drug addict to own guns as long as the courts haven’t made those determinations.”

      “A person can be so loony that he doesn’t know how to write a check, can’t pay his rent and doesn’t recognize his daughter, but he can damn sure walk down the street with a gun.”

      You misrepresent these people.

    2. avatar GuyFromV says:

      Yes, its OK.

    3. avatar MatKep says:

      Good point JJJ. It often results in tragedy when “nutjobs” get guns and sometimes drug addicts make poor decisions and commit crimes with guns. It is equally tragic when we allow our government to chip away at our rights and punish the majority of law obiding citizens for their lack of adequate governance. Also, I’m sure there are quite a few govt officials who fall under the “alcoholic, nutjob (and possibly) drug addict” umbrella. But they have the luxury of armed guards and being above the law. Keep it real JJJ, maybe someday you can join their club.

    4. avatar Chip Bennett says:

      Spoken like a true, progressive bigot. Well done.

    5. avatar Ad Astra says:

      Oh hell lets just get rid of that whole innocent until proven guilty thing then for you jjj.

  7. avatar Chip Bennett says:

    Politifact got something wrong?

    This is my shocked face. (Imagine Jim Caldwell, only slightly less expressive.)

  8. avatar Kap says:

    The VA already does this, and it is a sick ass policy! I know of a few Vets this has happened too, another way the f**king hippies, Moon-beams, Harri- Krishna and all the other Anti-Vietnam war types who are in power can still Screw us! We who fought for the right of these non accountable a**holes too make a decision without legal justification or accountability!
    VA appoints their political buddies as a Guardian’s { who get paid big bucks to steal from the Veteran’s} and can decide life and death issues without any legal Basis, its time we vets get political! we are one big voting block!

  9. avatar Jack says:

    So, in new speak, the term “fact checking” means the same thing as “making stuff up, to argue your agenda, with no attempt whatsoever at research”

  10. avatar Pg2 says:

    Politifact has a lot in common with snopes, a site with an agenda that is is vowed as truth but with little or no basis in unbiased sources.

  11. avatar Mmmtacos says:

    Politifact showing bias? Imagine that.

    Liberals do love the site, as it touts “facts” often, despite when they get them wrong, or when they pass judgement on something being “mostly” true or false. They begrudgingly hand out verdicts of “mostly true” to their political enemies as if to say, “Yeah, whatever, so you’re right, get over it.” and find ways to convince themselves when a political ally is wrong that it can be deemed “mostly true” as well.

  12. avatar mark s. says:

    Watch the other hand .

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