Back in February, Donald Trump quietly signed a bill to reverse gun control regulations established by Barack Obama that restricted mentally ill people from obtaining guns easily; a fact that, in the wake of the deadly shooting in Las Vegas on Sunday, should not be overlooked.
The Obama-era rule instituted that people who received Social Security checks for mental illnesses and those who are considered unfit to handle their own finances were added to the national background check database, which was projected to at least 75,000 names to be checked in order to improve gun safety. This rule was devised after the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, whose targets were first-grade children.
The restriction, when it was first proposed, received backlash from both the NRA, as a believed violation of gun rights, and the American Civil Liberties Union, who thought of it as a harmful ideology in regards to mentally ill people.
“Republicans always say we don’t need new gun laws, we just need to enforce the laws already on the books. But the bill signed into law undermines enforcement of existing laws that Congress passed to make sure the background check system had complete information,” Senator Chris Murphy, a gun control advocate in Congress, said in a statement regarding the bill passed.
Donald Trump expressed his condolences to all those affected by the Las Vegas shooting, with 58 dead and 515 injured in the biggest shooting in contemporary U.S. history. However, time and time again, sympathies and condolences prove to be inadequate in the fight to end this sort of violence. Trump’s ever-present hypocrisy cannot be ignored in his statements: he seems to be making little to no effort to avoid tragedies such as the recent occurrence in Las Vegas.
“It was an act of pure evil,” Trump said in a statement at the White House on Monday but failed to mention the cause for the ‘pure evil’: the lack of gun control.
In fact, not only is Donald Trump lacking in the fight for gun control, but he is an advocate for gun rights. “You have a true friend and champion in the White House,” Trump said during a keynote address for the National Rifle Association convention. “No longer will federal agencies be coming after law-abiding gun owners. No longer will the government be trying to undermine your rights and your freedoms as Americans. Instead, we will work with you, by your side.”
The gun control issue is an age-old debate and one that has time ahead of it as well, persisting even under a gun control advocate such as Barack Obama and will only be reignited following the Las Vegas tragedy. Still, it is important to continue pushing for gun control in order to decrease the number of 33,000 annually who die by firearms in the U.S. and prevent events like Sandy Hook, Orlando, and now Las Vegas from ever happening again.