On February 28, 2017, President Trump quietly signed a bill into law that rolled back an Obama-era regulation that made it harder for people with a history of mental illness to buy a gun.
The Obama-era rule added people receiving Social Security checks for mental illnesses and people deemed unfit to handle their own financial affairs to the national background check database, NBC News reported last year. According to the Obama administration, the rule would have added about 75,000 names to the database had it gone into full effect.
Gun rights advocates slammed the rule, saying it violated Americans’ 2nd Amendment rights. Trump signed the bill into law with little attention from the press.
Ironically, the mental health of the gunman who carried out Wednesday’s deadly shooting at a Florida high school was one of the first things Trump commented on when addressing the shooting on Twitter.
So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 15, 2018
“So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior,” Trump tweeted on Thursday. “Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!”
But it’s Trump’s party — and Trump himself — who have consistently prevented the federal government from doing anything about this kind of situation. The Obama-era gun regulation wouldn’t have had a massive impact on gun violence in the US since it’s estimated that it would only affect about 75,000 people. And disability rights groups had their own objections to the bill so some liberal groups, including the ACLU, joined with the National Rifle Association in urging Trump to reverse it.
But anything that makes it easier to obtain a gun, the research suggests, will likely worsen gun violence. After all, America already has some of the weakest gun laws in the developed world — and repealing a rule that made it a little tougher for some people to buy a gun likely makes that worse.