Trump Makes Getting Guns Easier For People With Mental Illness
A little less than a year ago, on February 28, 2017, Donald Trump signed a measure nixing a regulation aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of some severely mentally ill people. It’s critical to note that it’s not at all clear it would have applied to the shooters in Florida nor Las Vegas, and there’s no reason to believe it would have stopped the massacre.
The regulation, finalized in December under Obama’s tenure, required the Social Security Administration to disclose information quarterly to the national gun background check system about certain people with mental illness.
While the list of eligible mental disorders is long — ranging from anxiety to eating disorders to schizophrenia — those who would have been reported by the agency had to meet two main criteria: a) They were receiving full disability benefits because of a mental illness and couldn’t work and b) they were unable to manage their own benefits, thus needing the help of a third party to do so.
It’s also not clear — and perhaps unlikely — that the man accused of terrorizing the high school in Parkland and killing 17 people there would have met either of the criteria laid out to be reported under that rule.
What’s more, the rule Trump rescinded was opposed by both the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Rifle Association, so it wasn’t exactly universally hailed.
But it’s also true that it was a rule aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill. And almost the first thing the President did after this most recent shooting was to complain that the shooter’s mental illness hadn’t been reported.