GOP did not weaken gun laws, did strengthen separation of powers doctrine

GOP did not weaken gun laws, did strengthen separation of powers doctrine

GOP did not weaken gun laws, did strengthen separation of powers doctrine

Just down in the trenches clearing up more fake news. This week you may have heard that the GOP removed background checks and restrictions against mentally ill people from purchasing guns. Not true, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at Twitter.

Here’s the real story. Last summer, one of Obama’s last moves in office was to further restrict gun purchases by people identified by the Social Security Administration as needing help with their financial management. It is this provision alone that the House rolled back with a vote of 235-138. The reasons and supporters are many. From the American Association of People with Disabilities:

This rule would require the Social Security Administration to forward the names of all Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit recipients who use a representative payee to help manage their benefits due to a mental impairment to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).


Last year, the processing of background checks had a noticeable slow down.

The many reasons to oppose the regulation include violation of separation of powers – the Social Security Administration should not have the power to adjudicate mental health, due process – restrictions on constitutional rights warrant proper hearings, and statutory grounds – the Social Security Administration was acting outside the scope of its charge. But the reason that gathered the most support was that there is little evidence to support a link between mental illness and inability to manage one’s finances.

“Someone can be incapable of managing their funds but not be dangerous, violent or unsafe,” said Dr. Marc Rosen, a Yale psychiatrist who has studied how veterans with mental health problems manage their money. “They are very different determinations.

Twenty-two diverse groups supported the repeal:

As the House Ways and Means Committee was sure to make clear, letters of support were received from ADAPT, which “urged Congress to use the Congressional Rule Act to repeal this rule“; from the American Association of People with Disabilities, which pressed Congress “to support a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to disapprove the Final Rule issued by the Social Security Administration (SSA)”; from the ACLU, which pushed “members of the House of Representatives to support the resolution disapproving the final rule of the Social Security Administration”; from The Arc of the United States, which asked “Congress to act, through the CRA process, to disapprove this new rule”; from the Association of Mature American Citizens, which exhorted “Congress to quickly pass this Joint Resolution and restore the basic Second Amendment rights this rule has abridged”; from the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network, which implored “Congress to act, through the CRA process, to disapprove this new rule and prevent the damage that it inflicts on the disability community”; and, in addition, from the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, the Disability Law Center of Alaska, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Directors, the National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy, the National Association for Rural Mental Health, the National Council on Disability, the National Council of Independent Living, the National Coalition of Mental Health Recovery, the National Disability Leadership Alliance, the National Disability Rights Network, the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services, and Safari Club International.

Elected representatives, who know better, try to spin it:

This repeal is one good step in the direction of reducing onerous regulation and restoring the separation of powers. It should be celebrated for being something that so many groups could agree on!

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