A new plan to issue background checks on millions of potential gun-buyers has caught the NRA off guard, the Los Angeles Times reports. Responding to an executive order from President Obama, the Social Security Administration is devising a policy that could add millions of its beneficiaries to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). In this scenario, people mentally incapable of handling their own disability payments, and those receiving payments for mental-health issues, will be reported to the NICS—which exists to stop illegal immigrants, convicted drug offenders, felons, and others from buying guns. The move could add 4.7 million Americans to the system and put Social Security in line with other federal agencies, including Department of Veterans Affairs, which already report to NICS.
Told of the plan, head NRA lobbyist Chris Cox issued a statement opposing the "executive fiat" and saying "the NRA stands ready to pursue all available avenues to stop them in their tracks." The National Council on Disability also appears poised to oppose the move. The policy is fallout from the Sandy Hook killings, where six school employees and 20 children were massacred at a Connecticut elementary school in 2012. Congress later dismissed President Obama's push for gun-control legislation, so the president issued 23 executive orders on gun control, including one to put federal agencies in line with laws about NICS reporting. "We need a change in attitude," said Obama after the Charleston church massacre, per CNN. "We have to feel a sense of urgency. Ultimately Congress will follow the people."