If you see something on social media, you can usually be sure it’s not true. That applies to political screeds from both sides.
Especially in the wake of the recent mass shootings when the left and right are trying to use the victims’ blood for partisan gain.
One of the more egregious examples targets President Donald Trump. A story has gone viral on Facebook claiming the president reversed laws passed during President Barack Obama’s administration and “made it easier for the mentally ill to buy guns.”
Sounds terrible on the surface. But there is more to the story.
A law that took effect two days before President Trump took office made it more difficult for anyone who had problems managing disability payments to buy a gun. But the law was way too broad and included people with eating disorders, for example, or any number of mental illnesses or disabilities. These citizens required assistance, but they had never been adjudged a threat to themselves or others.
The law was opposed by more than 20 advocacy groups for the disabled as well as the ACLU.
“A disability should not constitute grounds for the automatic per se denial of any right or privilege, including gun ownership,” the ACLU said in a 2017 statement.
We agree. The disabled can be especially vulnerable and need the protection a firearm provides. They should not be automatically denied that right without a court’s determination. The law had no regard for due process.
President Trump reversed a law that discriminated against thousands of Americans who had done nothing wrong and had never been judged a threat by a court or mental health professional. He did not change the law that forbids those diagnosed with serious mental illness and determined to be a threat from owning forearms.
But this is divided America and, on social media at least, the truth takes a backseat to partisan pandering.