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Liberal Uproar over Senate Gun Vote that ACLU (and GOP) Supported

Liberals claim a Republican vote on Wednesday will put guns in the hands of the mentally ill. There’s a reason the GOP, psych experts, and the ACLU agreed on the vote, though.

Democrats on gun control

On Wednesday, the Senate voted 57 to 43 to revoke an Obama-era rule that made the Social Security Administration (SSA) report people that “can’t manage” their Social Security benefits to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), which makes them “ineligible to buy guns.”

Sens. Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Jon Tester (D-MT), and independent Sen. Angus King (I-ME), joined 52 Republicans in support of the measure.

There was a liberal uproar over the vote. The Huffington Post’s headline blared: “Congress Just Repealed Rules To Keep Guns From The Mentally Ill.” In the article, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), a gun control advocate, blasted Republicans: “The Republicans are so hypocritical on this issue.”

Last week, House Democrats also criticized the effort. The House passed the measure last week.

However, Senate Republicans and Democrats, psychiatry experts, and even the liberal ACLU were on the winning side of this issues.

In a February 10 op-ed for The Washington Post, Duke psychiatry professor Jeffrey Swanson argued the rule was not based on evidence:

“The mental health conditions in question might range from moderate intellectual disabilities to depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Based on one person’s judgment call, arrangements are made to have the government’s check sent to a representative payee. But this isn’t an index for whether or not someone should be allowed to own a gun.”

Even the ACLU, which is fighting President Donald Trump almost every step of the way, supported Republicans on this measure:

“We oppose this rule because it advances and reinforces the harmful stereotype that people with mental disabilities, a vast and diverse group of citizens, are violent. There is no data to support a connection between the need for a representative payee to manage one’s Social Security disability benefits and a propensity toward gun violence.”

It seems, behind the partisan furor running Washington, D.C. these days, there is some fact-based evidence for repealing this Obama-era rule on guns.