Last week the GOP-controlled House of Representatives voted to overturn an Obama-era rule—because ... you know ... Obama—that had been put in place to prevent people with severe mental illnesses from buying firearms.
The original rule was finalized by the Social Security Administration in December—the rule had been in the works for years, and was a response to the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012—and it banned from purchasing guns if their disability payments are handled by an outside party due to their “marked subnormal intelligence, or mental illness, incompetency, condition, or disease.”
And one Republican Congressman, John Barrasso of Wyoming, even went on television to defend his vote to allow people with mental illnesses to buy weapons. And he could not defend it and didn’t try because, again, GOP, guns, mental illness.
When Barrasso was asked, over and over again, by CNN’s Alisyn Camerota if he believed it was the right thing to do to allow people with severe mental illnesses the right to buy guns, he would not respond.
Alisyn Camerota: “As I understand it, it involves 75,000 people with mental disorders so severe that they cannot work, and they have someone else manage their Social Security benefits. How does it make sense to let them have guns?”
Rep. Barrasso: “This is a new change by President Obama, a midnight regulation on his way out the door. It should be subjected to full debate, discussion, and the House voted on it yesterday.”
Alisyn Camerota: “If someone has a mental illness so severe that they cannot work, should they be able to have a gun?”
Rep. Barrasso: “Well, the question is, is somebody able to have a gun at the same time they’re receiving Social Security disability benefits, and you can take a look at how those decisions are being made. But for seven or eight years, right up until the end of President Obama’s turn, it was fine.”
Alisyn Camerota: “Senator, are you comfortable with somebody having a mental disability and having a gun?”
Rep. Barrasso: “You can take a look at what the Constitution says, which is what I do. As a physician who’s spent lots of time dealing with patients with all different backgrounds, there are clearly people who have been labeled one way or another, and I’m not comfortable with midnight regulations by the president.”
Not once does he answer the question about whether or not he thinks people who suffer from mental illness should be allowed to buy a gun because, once more, GOP, guns, mental illness go hand-in-hand.