Editor’s Note: Seniors may lose gun rights

Nolan Finley
The Detroit News

One proposal in President Barack Obama’s package of gun control measures he intends to enact through executive orders isn’t getting a lot of attention, but has the potential of denying gun ownership rights to nearly 3 million senior citizens.

The president has quietly been developing policies for denying Social Security benefits to gun owners who have their finances managed by others.

A similar policy is in place for veterans, and has endured despite several attempts by Congress to repeal it.

Gun rights proponents are protesting, as would be expected. But also alarmed are mental health professionals who fear it will discourage seniors from seeking assistance for mental health issues, and advocates for the disabled, who view the policy as discriminatory because of the overly broad assumption that those who need some assistance with their affairs are incompetent to own weapons.

Seniors have not been a gun violence threat in this country. Fewer than 2 percent of homicides are committed by those over 65.

Policies that would force seniors to choose between their guns and the Social Security benefits they’ve earned is one reason gun owners are suspicious when politicians start talking about “common sense” gun control, and why they are so resistant to a national gun registry.