In a move that has raised eyebrows and brought outcry, the U.S Congress has moved to block an Obama-era rule to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally impaired.
Even ardent gun enthusiasts and Second Amendment rights supporters, present company included, must have to take a second look at this information, right? The U.S. Congress will now block a rule meant to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally impaired.
It may seem like a move destined for failure and sorrow, but people on both sides need to stop and take a breath.
NBC News reported that it was Senator Charles Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, who spearheaded the effort saying,
"The mental disorders covered through the regulation are filled with "vague characteristics that do not fit into the federal mentally defective standard" prohibiting someone from buying or owning a gun."
Grassley went on to say,
"If a specific individual is likely to be violent due to the nature of their mental illness, then the government should have to prove it."
On the other hand, Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat representing Connecticut, was incredulous, saying,
"If you can't manage your own financial affairs, how can we expect that you're going to be a responsible steward of a dangerous, lethal firearm?"
The NRA, the ACLU, and over 12 different advocacy groups for the disabled supported the repeal saying that such harmful stereotypes towards the disabled community are counterproductive.
While Dan Gross, President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence said,
"Make no mistake, this vote was really about deepening the gun industry's customer pool, at the expense of those in danger of hurting themselves or others."
The number the original the legislation is said to effect is only around 75,000.
A lot of people, yes, but a drop in the bucket of the overall gun ownership in the United States. While Democrats seemingly want to keep firearms away from everyone, Republicans seemingly want to make sure that anyone can have them. The truth is certainly somewhere in the middle. Unfortunately this action by a Republican majority Congress is too easily made to look like madness: "They're going to let mentally ill people have guns!"
Being that the original regulation was made as a part of then President Obama's effort to strengthen federal background checks after the heinous Sandy Hook attack in 2012, it was hard to argue with a rule trying to keep firearms out of the hands of similar mentally unstable individuals.
Calm reasoning will confirm that many Democrats are safe and legal gun owners, while many Republicans understand that there are people who should never have access to firearms. Should we keep them away from citizens who served their country, but may have lingering after effects, or conversely give access to those who have committed armed robbery, rape, or murder?
Make no mistake, firearms can be used to defend us, and can be used for crimes against humanity even when they can serve as tools to try and help some heal.
"Can we fix these people? Can we legislate out of them the desire to kill? Those in the business of fighting crime and analyzing mental illness can look into the lives of each of these killers and tell you the red flags that popped up before the massacre. Why don't we deal with that instead of banning the tools very few use? By the very nature of these crimes, we know that evildoers don't care about the laws. After all, murder is against the law, and they are choosing to ignore the law from the moment they plan to harm people."
It's also well known that Kyle's dearly departed husband and U.S. hero, Chris Kyle was murdered by a drug using, mentally impaired man with a gun.
Cover photo via Brownells