Can Mentally Ill People Buy Guns Now?

Trump reverses Obama's rule on this topic.

Can the Mentally Ill Buy Guns Now?

In the last week of February, President Trump reversed an Obama-era regulation that tightened background checks. President Obama implemented the ruling following the San Bernardino shooting in 2015.

Obama wanted to require the Social Security Administration to give the organization that conducts background checks the names and social security numbers of people who were mentally disabled.  The National Instant Criminal Background Check System would then compare those records against people who were trying to buy a gun, and not allow mentally ill people to complete the transaction.

About 75,000 people applied for social security benefits who were determined to be mentally “defective.” Congress did not like this ruling because they felt it would unfairly affect people who had mental health issues but were mentally competent enough to own a gun.

The Social Security Administration finalized the rule December 19. But Congress has 60 legislative days to disapprove of any new regulation on straight majority votes. The vote was 57-43 in the Senate and 235-180 in the House.

President Trump has used the Congressional review period, known as the Congressional Review Acct, three times since he took office, to reverse Obama-era rulings on oil and mining, and protecting the nation’s small streams and waterway from pollution.

President Trump promised to reverse this ruling while he was still campaigning. This law doesn’t change the background and mental health checks that are already in place. The ruling did not affect seriously, certifiably mentally ill people. It just affected the 75,000 people that applied for social security benefits that had some type of impairment. The problem, which a lot of people understood but which most of the media who reported on this seem to have not understood, is that social security claims are denied for people who don’t get medical help in managing their illness.

So these 75,000 people who WERE GETTING social security benefits, had shown that they were seeking help and being treated. Obama’s rule would only have worked against those people with mental illness who were already getting treatment. There are many people with mental illness of various types who, for instance, can’t work because they can’t drive, or can’t manage their money, that could still responsibly own a firearm.