In the wake of the shooting at a Florida high school that left 17 people dead, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley told reporters this Thursday that the government has “not done a good job” when it comes to keeping guns out of the hands of people who have a history of mental illness.
“It seems to be common for a lot of these shootings, in fact almost all of the shootings, is the mental state of the people, Grassley said according to CNN. “And we have not done a very good job of making sure that people that have mental reasons for not being able to handle a gun getting their name into the FBI files and we need to concentrate on that.”
Sen. Chuck Grassley says Congress needs to concentrate on how people with "mental reasons for not being able to handle a gun" are able to get them. pic.twitter.com/x9fZ2BKXx6
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) February 15, 2018
As MSNBC points out, Grassley echoed this same sentiment exactly five years ago this week during an interview with NPR when he was asked what lawmakers should when it comes to gun violence.
“[T]he biggest problem that we have to deal with, and quite frankly I don’t think any of us have an answer to the mental health issue,” he said at the time.
“How do you get more people that have mental health problems that shouldn’t have guns, and under present law can’t get guns, but you got to get their name into the database as well.”
Re these comments from Senator Chuck Grassley today:
Sen Grassley was the lead Senate sponsor of a bill to make it easier for mentally ill people to buy guns — it was a standalone bill; that's all it did.
It passed Congress a year ago today, and Pres. Trump signed it into law. https://t.co/cB2CyrHqfr
— Rachel Maddow MSNBC (@maddow) February 15, 2018
Up until this time last year, there was a federal policy in place that forced the Social Security Administration to report the names of people who receive mental illness disability benefits to the FBI’s background check system. Then along came Grassley who was the chief sponsor of a bill that blocked that system of reporting. Exactly one year ago yesterday, the bill passed the GOP-led Congress and had the support of every Republican senator.
In sum, Grassley’s solution is exactly the one he worked to prevent.
Featured image via screen grab/YouTube