SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- The House on Thursday struck down a law that blocks the mentally ill and some recipients of disability benefits from purchasing weapons. The National Rifle Association (NRA) has long opposed this rule, claiming it strips people of their Second Amendment rights. As The Hill reported, the House of Representatives voted 235-180 “to roll back a rule that required the Social Security Administration to report people who receive disability benefits and have a mental health condition to the FBI’s background check system.” Although critics condemned the measure as pandering and dangerous, the GOP hailed the move as a victory in bolstering President Trump’s security. As a mentally dysfunctional and unhinged lunatic, Trump may now legally purchase firearms to defend himself in case of attack.
All the President’s MentalProtecting the president is a demanding, round-the-clock job for Secret Service agents, police and other law enforcement personnel. With Trump, safety measures have become more urgent and imperative. He has, within one week in office, established himself as an aggressive, confrontational world leader who has unleashed countless threats against the rulers of foreign nations, alienated large swaths of the U.S. population and vowed to strip citizens of their rights.
Trump faces more direct peril than any other sitting executive in recent times. Even though the president continues to retain his private protection squadron, security officials worry that he must have recourse to personal defense. Until Thursday, this was not possible under an Obama-era law that prevented the mentally ill from owning guns.
“The Obama administration’s last minute, back-door gun grab would have stripped law-abiding Americans of their Second Amendment rights without due process,” said a top NRA lobbyist. He also admitted that his organization supports keeping guns away from the mentally ill, but clarified that the courts must ultimately determine the criteria for mental illness.
“Under Section Four of the 25th Amendment, the president could be declared unfit to serve,” the lobbyist explained. “This would precipitate Trump’s removal from his post. But that’s a decision best left to the legislators and not the vast majority of the uninformed public who voted against him.”
Ratified in 1967, but never invoked, the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution rose from the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination in 1963, and states:
Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.
“While President Trump remains this great nation’s leader, he must be kept safe,” the NRA added. “Prohibiting him from bearing arms would be antithetical to those ends.”
Riding Shotgun on the Crazy TrainAs Nathan Wellman wrote in U.S. Uncut, Democratic opposition to the repeal was strong. Lawmakers expressed concerns that loosening restrictions for mentally unfit gun owners would “create unsafe living conditions with the family members who take care of them.”
“They have a right to protect their loved ones who may use a weapon against themselves or their family members,” said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass).
Thorn Havershabe, head of the San Narciso County chapter of the NRA, dismissed the apprehensions of progressives as fear-mongering tactics meant to stir anxiety and renew the push for their defeated socialist agenda.
“Is the president a terrifying, screechy, schizophrenic, malignantly narcissistic pathologically lying, insane, incompetent, unbalanced threat to himself and others? Of course he is,” Havershabe said. “But what president isn’t a danger to himself and others? These people are bombarded by unpleasant situations and unrest from all angles. They’re under tremendous stress and scrutiny. They always have enemies. And we put the codes to America’s nuclear arsenal in the hands of these berated, beaten-down, assaulted individuals? What makes Trump any different?”
“Remember when reporters snapped pictures of Obama shooting a rifle?” Havershabe asked. “How scary was that? A black Muslim, in command of the world’s mightiest military, indiscriminately popping caps in back-forty. In a society where beleaguered police officers must kill scores of dangerous unarmed black teens to save their communities, how could we give Obama a pass to carry weapons and not this president?”
Havershabe’s reference involves a February 2013 publicity photo of President Obama firing a shotgun, a moment meant to demonstrate bipartisanship in the contentious debate between reasonable gun control and Second Amendment freedoms. As reported by the Bennington Vale Evening Transcript at the time:
In another attempt to solidify bipartisan support for tougher gun control measures amid escalating incidents of mass shootings, the White House released a photograph Saturday of President Obama firing a shotgun at Camp David. The intended message seemed to suggest that Obama not only supports Second Amendment freedoms but also enjoys squeezing off a few rounds himself, which would make his rally for increased controls on firearms permitting and heightened weapons restrictions more palatable to conservatives.
The reaction to the photo, however, was more controversial than administration officials had expected, particularly among NRA members. In a stark about-face, the powerful gun lobby said the image of America’s first black president armed to the teeth had inspired its members to reconsider their historic opposition to gun control.
To Havershabe’s point, the NRA did consider reversing its stance on gun regulations after the Obama images surfaced. However, as staunch defenders of the Constitution, they upheld an unfettered interpretation of the Second Amendment without protest.
Although critics agree that Trump may be in greater mortal danger than other presidents, they worry about the harm he could cause himself. One Democratic senator referred to a rogue Twitter account for White House custodial staff, where someone in housekeeping leaked that the president, because of his poor eyesight or dementia, had been shouting at his own reflection:
“Maid found Trump screaming at mirror this morning, chastising ‘scary orange demon’ for staring him in the eyes.”
Havershabe discounted the leak and its relevance to restricting Trump’s access to guns for personal safety. “Elvis used to shoot his televisions when he was upset,” Havershabe explained. “If our president decides to blast a couple of TVs when CNN comes on, or if he shatters a few mirrors with an angry bullet, what of it? I’d rather have the president defending himself against paranoid delusions and psychotic hallucinations than being vulnerable to attack.”
“A lot of people want this man dead, especially those closest to him,” Havershabe added. “Who's to say the next time he pays Russian sex workers to urinate on his face that they won’t try to poison him with polonium? If we prevent this mentally ill commander-in-chief from arming himself, his presidency may be much shorter than the four months he’s probably got left anyway.”
*Image background courtesy of Joe Vaux’s wonderfully twisted art.
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