President Donald Trump’s efforts to fulfill his campaign promises have prompted frenzied opposition from a vocal minority. This group of people holds a fanatical hatred of our 45th president that leads them to abandon all reason, often resulting in bizarre emotional outbursts.
NRA members know that segments of the anti-gun political class and mainstream media suffer from a similar malady. This causes those afflicted to make outlandish statements whenever legislation protecting the rights of gun owners is passed. No matter how well-reasoned such legislation is, those who fall into this category reflexively oppose it with fervor.
Perhaps no better case study for this exists than the incoherent reaction to Congress and the president’s recent effort to undo an 11th-hour Obama administration Social Security Administration (SSA) regulation.
In December, the SSA issued the final version of a regulation that would have required the agency to report tens of thousands of beneficiaries to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to prohibit them from exercising their Second Amendment-protected rights. To develop the rule, Barack Obama’s administration inaccurately interpreted federal law to contend that those who receive SSA benefits and are assigned a “representative payee” meet the criteria of “adjudicated as a mental defective” under the Gun Control Act.
Thankfully, Congress quickly acted to rescind the Obama regulation. Contrary to the claims of the media and gun control groups, Congress did not remove the names of individuals prohibited from owning firearms from the NICS database. It merely prevented the SSA from using an improper interpretation of federal law to prohibit the exercise of a fundamental constitutional right.
Of course, when faced with legislation that deviated from their gun control doctrine, anti-gun politicians were quick to cave to the gun control lobby. One such politician was House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md. In a sheepish statement, Hoyer boasted about his longtime support for the disabled community and contended that he disagreed “with the premise that having a mental disability that precludes independent management of one’s finances correlates with a heightened risk of violence.” Hoyer then sacrificed his professed beliefs at the altar of gun control, voting against the resolution.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., took a similar posture. In a floor speech, Blumenthal claimed to support those with mental illness, touting his record and stating, “Mental health issues should be no cause for fear, no reason for stigma, no excuse for shame.” However, at other points in the speech, Blumenthal appeared to be doing his best to terrify the public, claiming that the resolution “could lead to great harm,” calling it “irresponsible” and contending that “death and injury” would result.
Hoyer and Blumenthal’s behavior was hypocritical, but it was tame compared to the hysteria of the anti-gun media. Seeing some of the headlines and tweets, uninformed readers might have gotten the impression that Congress and the president exempted those with mental illness from background-check requirements, altered the GCA’s prohibited persons categories or repealed the Brady Act altogether.
A BBC article contended, “The U.S. House of Representatives has voted to scrap regulations that require background checks for gun buyers with mental health issues.” An Associated Press headline read, “House votes to roll back Obama rule on background checks for gun ownership.” Left-winger Rachel Maddow likened Congress’ action to a federal program that would actively provide arms to those with mental illness, opining on Twitter, “Is there someone who ran for office on the need to get guns into the hands of people who are literally too mentally ill to cash a check?”
To the anti-gun politicians and press, all that mattered was the legislation would better safeguard Second Amendment-protected rights and was supported by the NRA. For them, adherence to anti-gun and anti-NRA orthodoxy has complete priority over everything else.
As the NRA works with Trump and our allies in Congress to better secure the Second Amendment-protected rights of all Americans, gun owners should prepare for more irrational and misleading attacks. Being able to respond with reason and facts will contrast our message of liberty with their illogical appeals to fear, and it will help ensure that their obstructionist anti-gun agenda does not prevail.