Allowing severely mentally ill people to buy guns is a travesty

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, February 28, 2017

By Deborah Craig 

The U.S. Senate has just weakened the effectiveness of background checks for firearm purchases, while making America less safe, but strengthening profits for the national gun lobby, by voting recently to approve H.J. Res 40.  

In this resolution,  the Republican-led House voted to repeal the last administration’s regulation that required the Social Security Administration to disclose to the national gun background check system information about people diagnosed with severe mental illnesses. 

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The regulation instituted in the final days of the Obama administration required the SSA to share information about those who are considered incapable of managing their own disability benefits, due to severe mental illness. Aside from the fact that six out of ten gun fatalities are suicides, people with severe mental illnesses, such as various diagnoses of schizophrenia,  do not need unfettered access to guns.

As we’ve seen in the past, people with varying degrees of mental illness are responsible for most of the national tragedies of mass shootings in the US.

The National Instant Criminal History Background Check System relies on the Social Security Administration to report to them the individuals whose mental illnesses have been severe enough to the extent that they cannot manage their own benefits.  

How does this infringe on any second amendment rights, if they’re not deemed capable to manage the basics of their own lives or affairs? 

At a time when we should be making our communities safer, Congress’ first action on guns weakens the background check and opens the door for more mass shootings. Striking down this protection simply advances the gun lobby’s profit-motivated agenda of more guns for anyone—no questions asked.  

This  hypocrisy is lost on no one. The very same lawmakers who grandstand about safer communities and better enforcement of existing laws, just undermined that when demonstrating to the  American people that citizens with severe mental illnesses still being given second amendment rights and the advancement and profits  of the gun industry are both more important than safe communities, schools, businesses, and college campuses.

Senator Wicker’s recently syndicated article with his rationalizations for voting to strike down this protection does not counteract his receipt of  $51,000 from gun lobby PACS ( $41,000 for Senator Cochran.) 

Another example of members of Congress getting bankrolled to serve special interests, instead of the American people’s.