Rachel Maddow exposed Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley’s hypocrisy on Thursday after the Iowa senator said lawmakers need to do a better job of preventing those with mental illnesses from getting their hands on a weapon.
The only problem, as Maddow brilliantly pointed out, is that Grassley literally sponsored legislation that made it easier for those with mental illnesses to obtain a firearm.
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Maddow tore into the Iowa senator:
He said we have not done a very good job of making sure the people that have mental reasons for not being able to handle a gun getting their name into the FBI file and we need to concentrate on that. That’s what he said. To be perfectly and specifically clear here, Senator Chuck Grassley was the lead sponsor in the U.S. Senate of the bill that passed one year ago today that had one specific purpose, which was to keep people who had been adjudicated as seriously mentally ill from having their names added to the FBI database he’s talking about right there. … This was targeted legislation that did only that and today he speaks in wonder and apparent outrage for some reason we can’t get the names of the people with serious mental illness onto the FBI background check database. For some reason, he’s personally and individually responsible for that being harder to do today than it was one year ago today.
In the aftermath of mass shootings like the one we saw Wednesday in Parkland, Florida, Republicans often ignore all talk of new gun legislation and instead focus on mental illness. For them, it serves as an easy way out of any discussion on the uniquely American problem of guns.
In his remarks today, Donald Trump played the same card. He didn’t mention the word “gun” a single time and instead said any efforts to curb this unspeakable violence should focus solely on mental health.
While Trump and Grassley pride themselves on pivoting to mental illness in the aftermath of these tragedies, each of these men has failed the American people on that front as well.
For Trump, one of his first major actions as president was to sign a piece of legislation that rolled back an Obama-era regulation meant to prevent tens of thousands of people with mental illnesses from possessing a gun.
In the case of Grassley, as Maddow pointed out, he sponsored a bill that made it harder for mentally ill individuals to be added to the FBI database.
On all angles of this issue – from new gun regulations to strengthening mental health regulations – Republican lawmakers have failed the American people.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.
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