MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

No, the GOP Did Not Just Repeal the Background Check System or Give Guns to the Mentally Ill

Posted by M. C. Fox on February 16, 2018

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/444582/no-gop-did-not-just-repeal-background-check-system-or-give-guns-mentally-ill

CHARLES C. W. COOKE

…And why would it, given the details? Here’s the American Association of People with Disabilities explaining what was at stake: 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). Or, in layman’s terms: The rule would have allowed bureaucrats within one of our federal agencies to bar American citizens from exercising a constitutional right — and on the highly questionable grounds that to be incapable of managing one’s finances is, by definition, to be a “mental defective.” There were a host of reasons to object to this measure. On separation-of-powers grounds, the prospect of the Social Security Administration playing judge, jury, and executioner is flatly intolerable. On due process grounds, there was nothing to recommend the measure (as the ACLU made abundantly clear in its opposition letter). On statutory grounds, it seems clear that the SSA was acting ultra vires. And, as political matter, the vacillation of the Obama administration — which insisted simultaneously that “incidents of violence continue to highlight a crisis in America’s mental health system” and that it was “not attempting to imply a connection between mental illness and a propensity for violence, particularly gun violence” — was downright embarrassing. But one does not have to agree with me on process or in outlook to see that as a matter of positive policy, the idea was a terrible one. As Yale’s Dr. Mark Rosen observed when the rule was first adumbrated, ​the link between financial acumen and mental illness is extraordinarily weak: “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. It is for this lattermost reason — not from any great fidelity to the Second Amendment — that so many organizations urged the GOP to act…

Be seeing you

prison bars

 

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