I always hesitate before blogging about guns, knowing that posting any opinion other than “yes, you have a constitutional right to pack heat whenever or wherever you want, and it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve beaten your wife” will generate howls of opprobrium and hysterical accusations that I want to disarm everyone.
The Orange Menace in the Oval Office is on record–well, on twitter–saying that America doesn’t have a gun problem, that what we do have is a mental health problem.
There are, of course, multiple available rebuttals to that statement. We might point out that other countries with similar percentages of mentally-ill citizens but fewer guns have dramatically fewer incidents of gun violence. We might point out that allowing civilians to own lethal assault weapons developed for warfare is evidence of a different sort of mental illness. We might point out that the Second Amendment doesn’t require a failure to differentiate between a hunting rifle and an AK-15.
Even if we ignore those arguments, we’re left with a question that our Tweeter-in-Chief conveniently ignored: if mass shootings are attributable to failures of our efforts to keep firearms out of the hands of the mentally ill, why did he eliminate Obama’s restrictions on gun ownership for people with mental illness? (We do know the answer to that: Trump’s obsessive hatred of Obama and his fixation on erasing any and all measures attributable to his predecessor.)
President Donald Trump quietly signed a bill into law Tuesday rolling back an Obama-era regulation that made it harder for people with mental illnesses to purchase a gun.
The rule, which was finalized in December, added people receiving Social Security checks for mental illnesses and people deemed unfit to handle their own financial affairs to the national background check database.
Had the rule fully taken effect, the Obama administration predicted it would have added about 75,000 names to that database.
President Barack Obama recommended the now-nullified regulation in a 2013 memo following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which left 20 first graders and six others dead. The measure sought to block some people with severe mental health problems from buying guns.
The GOP-led House and Senate obediently passed the bill nullifying the Obama-era measure, and officials of the NRA “applauded” the action.
Of course they did.
Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., a leading gun control advocate in Congress, called out Republicans over the move.
“Republicans always say we don’t need new gun laws, we just need to enforce the laws already on the books. But the bill signed into law today undermines enforcement of existing laws that Congress passed to make sure the background check system had complete information,” he said in an emailed statement.
So, welcome to the U.S. of A… On this Thanksgiving Day, feel free to express your gratitude for a country where any raving lunatic can legally buy a gun, and the twittering lunatic in the White House can launch nuclear weapons.
American exceptionalism, baby!