Commenting on the latest mass shooting in America, President Donald Trump said Monday that this “isn’t a guns situation” but instead “a mental health problem at the highest level.”
We believe President Trump should be taken at his word. For that reason, we are today urging him to undo action he took last winter.
On Feb. 28, the president signed into law a bill rolling back a regulation that made it harder for people with mental illnesses to purchase a gun.
The rule, which was finalized in December in the final weeks of President Barack Obama’s administration, 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.
Obama recommended the now-nullified regulation in a 2013 memorandum after 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 original rule was hotly contested by gun rights advocates who said it infringed on Americans’ Second Amendment rights. Gun control advocates, however, praised the rule for curbing the availability of firearms to those who may not use them with the right intentions, NBC News reported.
Earlier in February, both the House and Senate passed the new bill, H.J. Res 40, revoking the Obama-era regulation.
It’s worth noting that the revoked regulation would, according to statements by members of Texas law enforcement after investigation, have done nothing to stop the alleged assailant in the mass shooting Sunday at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas.
This isn’t about that incident. This is about what the president of the United States has characterized as a mental health problem.
There seems to be consensus among gun-rights advocates and gun-control supporters for common-sense gun-control legislation, laws which respect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens while recognizing that some members of our society have demonstrated that their possession of guns would be a clear and present danger to themselves and to others.
People who have been diagnosed with serious mental illness should not be allowed to possess firearms. Background checks which would flag such people as being ineligible for gun purchase or ownership should once again be the law of the land.
Mr. President, we urge you to take action on what you have identified as “a mental health problem at the highest level” by calling for new legislation to make it harder for the mentally ill to acquire firearms.