And now they own this carnage.
Donald Trump and the Republicans are, once again, choosing not to deal with the rampant gun violence in this country. As they’ve done after every other school shooting, they are focused solely on mental illness. So if they believe that all of this carnage is due to mental illness, why did they make it easier for the severely mentally ill to purchase guns??
Last year, Republicans in Congress voted to end the Obama rule banning the mentally ill from buying guns. And then, on February 28, 2017, Trump signed it into law. The Obama rule required the Social Security Administration to enter the names of people who get mental health benefits into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
The Obama rule would’ve added about 75,000 people currently on disability support to the background check database, which would prevent them from being able to buy a gun. The New York Times reported last year that “These individuals suffer schizophrenia, psychotic disorders and other problems to such an extent that they are unable to manage their financial affairs and other basic tasks without help.”
Republicans have been lying about what they did since. Senator Chuck Grassley said that they didn’t agree with Obama’s rule because it could prevent someone with a simple eating disorder from buying a gun. That is not true. The Obama rule was for people with severe mental illness and included people who were committed involuntarily to mental institutions. “The rule was focused narrowly on disabled individuals who require a trustee for personal management.”
Republicans are right about one thing though. Mental illness is a big part of these mass shootings. And there is no question that more needs to be done to help the mentally ill. But considering that Republicans believe that the entire problem is not about guns but instead about mental illness, WHY did they block the Obama rule????
Last year, following the mass shooting at a Texas church which left 26 people dead, Trump said,
“Mental health is your problem here. This was a very, based on preliminary reports, a very deranged individual, a lot of problems over a long period of time. We have a lot of mental health problems in our country, as do other countries. But this isn’t a guns situation.”
And now, after this horrific shooting in Parkland, Florida, Trump and the Republicans are saying the same thing.
The Florida shooter had a history of severe mental illness. He is the exact type of person that the Obama rule was meant to stop. Many of the mass shooters over the past year have been mentally ill.
Would the Obama rule prevent every one of these horrific shootings? I don’t know. We’ll never know. But one thing we do know for sure is that now there is nothing to stop the next mentally deranged killer from buying an assault weapon and slaughtering even more children.
This is a national nightmare. And Donald Trump and the Republicans now own it.
Featured image via ABC News