During the March 7 airing of MSNBC’s On The Record with Greta, host Greta Van Susteren suggested the Trump and GOP-led repeal of the Social Security gun ban make it easier for the mentally ill to buy guns.
This is Fake News 101, and it is a continuation of the same tired mantra that NBC News and SELF magazine pushed last week. SELF claimed Trump ended background checks for the severely mentally ill, and NBC News claimed Trump ended “gun checks for people with mental illness.”
In reality, the GOP-led House voted to repeal the Social Security gun ban on February 2, the Senate followed suit on February 15, and President Trump signed the repeal on February 28. The concern in all cases was that Obama’s Social Security gun ban not only violated Second Amendment rights but did so by trampling on Due Process rights. After all, the gun ban allowed the Social Security Administration to investigate beneficiaries then use a mental health moniker to bar them from gun purchases.
Duke University psychiatry and behavioral science professor Jeffrey Swanson looked at the gun ban and warned that the mental health was so broad it covered everything from “depression” to “schizophrenia.” Because of this, Swanson said Obama’s gun ban “[takes] away the gun rights of a large category of individuals without any evidence that they pose a risk of harm to self or others.”
These things are easy to understand. The ban not only declared a forfeiture of Second Amendment rights but also violated Due Process and equated very simple, benign mental illness with severe mental disturbances. In light of these things, the White House released a statement explaining that President Trump was concerned that the most vulnerable — people with disabilities — would see their Second Amendment rights sacrificed.
But Greta did not cover these things in her monologue. Rather, she said:
Congress recently voted, and President Trump quietly signed, a bill to eliminate a rule that made it harder–not impossible, but harder–for certain people with mental illnesses to buy a gun. The new eliminated rule, required by the Social Security Administration, to report people who receive Social Security disability benefits because of a mental health condition and cannot work, and are unable to manage their own benefits, to the national gun background check system.
From there, she stressed that she wants to “protect the privacy of everyone including those who would be impacted by [the ban],” but she admitted there is a line for such protection. She talked of those who voted to overturn the ban and said, “They’re all wrong. They all have special interest clouding their thinking, robbing them of old-fashioned common sense.”
She added, “People with mental health issues, identified by Social Security disability benefits, need to undergo stricter scrutiny before they can buy guns.”
But what if the mental health issue is depression rather bi-polar disease? What if it is anxiety over the loss of a spouse after 60 years of marriage rather than schizophrenia?
Duke Professor Swanson was right, the Obama’s gun ban targeted “the vulnerable” instead of the dangerous. Fake News does not change this.
AWR Hawkins is the Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News and host of Bullets with AWR Hawkins, a Breitbart News podcast. He is also the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.