Thirty nine days into his presidency Donald Trump is finally making some moves in favor of the Second Amendment rights of Americans, but not quite as stridently as gun owners would have liked. While Trump has been slinging executive orders left and right on immigration and other topics gun control repeal hasn’t been a top priority. Yesterday he made the first pro-gun move signing into law a repeal of the Obama era ban on firearms for some social security recipients.
The rule in question added social security recipients to the “prohibited persons” list in the FBI run NICS system used for background checks for firearms if they also indicated that they were incapable of managing their finances. There was no investigation into any of these cases, they were simply added to the list when they met the criteria.
Folks like the NRA and ACLU took issue with the rule for a number of reasons. First and foremost it was restricting a Constitutionally protected right (to keep and bear arms) without due process. For other mental health related NICS denials there’s usually a judge involved at some point but this was pure bureaucracy in work. Second was that it unfairly slandered those with mental health issues as “dangerous” which is incorrect, and forcing them to lose their Second Amendment rights would keep them from seeking help.
Trump didn’t reverse this Obama executive order with an executive order of his own, instead Congress passed a resolution which he signed into law yesterday.
With President Trump busy focusing on immigration and healthcare it’s possible that he might run out of political capital before he enacts some of the pro-gun changes we’ve all been clamoring to see in this administration. When something as simple and (relatively) non controversial as repealing the Social Security gun ban takes an act of congress to prompt Trump to act we might not be able to rely on executive action alone to bring about the changes we want.