Media bashes Congress for regs rollback, ACLU returns fire

Newspaper editorials criticize Congress for rolling back an Obama gun regulation but the ACLU defends the Capitol Hill action. (Dave Workman)
Newspaper editorials criticize Congress for rolling back an Obama gun regulation but the ACLU defends the Capitol Hill action. (Dave Workman)

Media anti-gunners are furious over Congress’ decision to reverse the Obama administration’s regulation that would have denied gun rights to tens of thousands of Social Security disability recipients, but in Monday’s USA Today, the American Civil Liberties Union fired back.

The Obama regulation applies to an estimated 75,000 people who are weeded out because they have third party help with their Social Security finances. President Donald Trump was expected to sign the measure derailing it.

The Charleston (West Virginia) Gazette Mail went after Republicans in a Monday editorial that accused them of voting “for a law change likely to let more mentally ill people buy pistols, making them ready to kill at any instant.”

This editorial referred to another editorial — in the anti-gun Bloomberg News — that had this to say: “The fundamental principle that drives NRA, and thus Republican, gun politics [is that] anyone should be able to get a gun at any time for any reason and bring that weapon, loaded, anywhere. As this latest foray in extremism makes clear, that principle applies even to the mentally incompetent.”

USA Today declared in its headline, “Republicans refuse to enforce gun law.” The newspapers were careful to note that opposition to the Obama regulation came from “disability and civil rights” groups, while not identifying those organizations.

Careful, indeed, considering that the ACLU is at the front of that opposition, and in Monday’s opposing view in USA Today, they came out swinging. Here’s what the ACLU said:

“The thousands of Americans whose disability benefits are managed by someone else range from young people with depression and financial inexperience to older adults with Down syndrome needing help with a limited budget. But no data — none — show that these individuals have a propensity for violence in general or gun violence in particular.

“To the contrary, studies show that people with mental disabilities are less likely to commit firearm crimes than to be the victims of violence by others.

“Data show that young, white men are most likely to be mass shooters — the issue that politicians care about most, despite accounting for a tiny fraction of gun violence. And men under 35 commit most murders. Shall we enter all young men into the national database? The statistical correlation with gun violence would be stronger.”

There is no small amount of irony here because these are quite similar to arguments made by the so-called “gun lobby” which has been roundly dismissed as a collective of fanatics by liberal editorialists in the dominant media.

Why these editorial writers don’t publicly disparage the ACLU by name can only be a matter of conjecture. But it just might be that occasionally liberals need the ACLU for their own purposes.

And perhaps it might also be a reluctance to admit that the ACLU has a point when it observes, “This is about more than guns. Adding more innocent Americans to the National Instant Criminal Background database because of a mental disability is a disturbing trend — one that could be applied to voting, parenting or other rights dearer than gun ownership. We opposed it because it would do little to stem gun violence but do much to harm our civil rights.”


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