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house Bill H. Joint Res. 40

Should a Rule Requiring the Gov't to Add “Mental Defectives” to a Criminal Background Check Database be Repealed?

Argument in favor

The Social Security Administration’s regulation is too broad and could deny law abiding citizens with no history of violence their right to own a firearm under the Second Amendment. No one wants the mentally ill to possess guns, but the rule creates more problems than it solves.

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02/02/2017
I'm not sure if there's a clear win here. I'm very worried about the GOP deeming LGBTQ+ folks mentally ill and therefore unable to arm ourselves. Pence has shown himself to be untrustworthy in this regard. I urge lawmakers to seek guidance from those who struggle with mental illness and those who work with them. There must be a solution that keeps us all safe.
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Jacqueline's Opinion
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02/02/2017
As a psychologist it concerns me that 1) the bill uses language that is both profoundly pejorative and has no legitimate diagnostic meaning; 2) the bill and language fail to recognize that mental illnesses are quite varied both in their symptom profiles and in terms of the degree and types of impairments to functioning that they may cause; and 3) the bill presumes that mental illness in and of itself would be a root cause of potential violence which is inconsistent with data that demonstrates quite clearly that people struggling with mental illnesses are disproportionately likely to be victims of violence rather than perpetrators of violence.
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Loraki's Opinion
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02/02/2017
By all means, REPEAL THE DAMNED THING! The federal government should be doing all it can to FIGHT THE STIGMATIZING of people who suffer from mental illness and/or disability! Moreover, the term "mental defective" COULD be interpreted by the government to apply to anyone who disagrees with the government's views on any issue! It can also be used to justify robbing a person of one or more of his/her Constitutional rights! The term "mental defective" has EXTREMELY negative connotations. It is highly demeaning and insulting! If someone suffers from cancer, would you call that person a "physical defective"?! No! To do so would be extremely unkind and unsympathetic! Mental illnesses and disabilities are NEURO-BIOLOGICAL brain disorders. The people who suffer from them deserve to be treated with the same respect and compassion that we show the cancer patient or the quadriplegic or anyone else with a diseased or injured body! A lot of people shun those with mental disabilities out of fear and/or ignorance. MENTAL DISORDERS ARE NOT CONTAGIOUS! Yes, some people who suffer from a mental disorder can be a danger to others. They are far more likely to be a danger to themselves! That's often because of the way other people treat them. Depression can cause a person to lose hope, and it can increase the feeling of self-loathing, self-pity, and/or anxiety. Such people need a strong and caring support system! The LAST thing they need is to be treated with suspicion, or like their disability is a character flaw! If someone is so disabled that they cannot manage their own affairs, they don't deserve to be treated like they're a burden to their family or to society. Neither do they deserve to be treated like Typhoid Mary! And neither do they deserve to be labeled in a way that diminishes their worth as a human being or increases their feeling of isolation. THE NRA IS ABSOLUTELY RIGHT IN THEIR REASON FOR SUPPORTING H.J. Res. 40: The National Rifle Association expressed its disapproval of the Obama administration’s rule, saying that it “would stigmatize the entire category of beneficiaries subject to reporting” without offering them due process. In a press release, the NRA added that the regulation would “doom tens of thousands of law-abiding (and vulnerable) disability insurance and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients to a loss of Second Amendment rights under the guise of re-characterizing them as ‘mental defectives’.” https://www.nraila.org/articles/20161223/grandma-got-run-over-by-obama-ssa-finalizes-new-gun-prohibition-rule I like what Countable member DeanLA said: "I recommend you read the List of mental disorders referred to in the Description of this bill. I laughed because the Democrats/ Liberals frequently display these mental disorders. 12.08 Personality and impulse-control disorders 1. Medical documentation of a pervasive pattern of one or more of the following: Distrust and suspiciousness of others; Disregard for and violation of the rights of others; Excessive emotionality and attention seeking; Recurrent, impulsive, aggressive behavioral outbursts.
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Argument opposed

The Social Security Administration’s regulation specifies that only people who have qualified for disability because of a mental disorder and are unable to manage their own affairs would be reported to the criminal background check database. That’s wise, and the rule should stay.

MotherFish's Opinion
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02/02/2017
Our vetting to purchase a gun should be as stringent as the vetting of a refugee seeking entrance into our country
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Camille's Opinion
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02/02/2017
This was a tough one for me. I am one hundred percent behind gun control legislation and keeping guns out of the hands of people who could be potentially dangerous...however, I also truly hate the stigmatizing language in this bill ("mental defectives"--???) and worry how lawmakers will enforce it, what "mentally defective" will be defined as, etc. Mental illness and wellness exist on a spectrum and in many cases labels and diagnoses like this don't take that into account, don't illustrate that two people who may share a diagnosis actually lead drastically different lives...this is turning into a rant but basically, LANGUAGE MATTERS!
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Donna's Opinion
···
02/02/2017
If someone is mentally disabled from work, they should not have access to firearms
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joint resolution Progress


  • EnactedFebruary 28th, 2017
    The President signed this bill into law
  • The senate Passed February 15th, 2017
    Roll Call Vote 57 Yea / 43 Nay
  • The house Passed February 2nd, 2017
    Roll Call Vote 235 Yea / 180 Nay
      house Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
      Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security
    IntroducedJanuary 30th, 2017

Log in or create an account to see how your Reps voted!

What is House Bill H. Joint Res. 40?

This resolution would repeal a regulation issued by the Social Security Administration (SSA) that requires the agency to submit personal information about beneficiaries deemed by the government to be “mental defectives” to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) if they’re unable to manage their own affairs and qualify for disability.

The regulation was finalized during the final weeks of the Obama administration, and was intended to prevent people with a “mental disorder” who receive disability benefits through a person responsible for their well-being from purchasing a firearm. The SSA maintains a list of mental disorders that would be used in referring individuals’ information to the NICS, which includes anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, eating disorders, PTSD, and schizophrenia among other intellectual and personality disorders. Under the rule, people denied the ability to purchase a gun would be able to petition to have that right restored, but wouldn’t be afforded the ability to challenge the right being taken away in the first place.

Under the Congressional Review Act, Congress can overturn regulations issued within the last 60 legislative days with simple majority votes in both chambers. The resolution would need to be signed into law by the president to take effect.

Impact

People who would be reported to the NICS by the SSA; and the SSA.

Cost of House Bill H. Joint Res. 40

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: The National Rifle Association expressed its disapproval of the Obama administration’s rule, saying that it “would stigmatize the entire category of beneficiaries subject to reporting” without offering them due process. In a press release, the NRA added that the regulation would “doom tens of thousands of law-abiding (and vulnerable) disability insurance and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients to a loss of Second Amendment rights under the guise of re-characterizing them as ‘mental defectives’.”

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) also expressed its disapproval of the Obama administration's rule, writing:

"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."

Everytown for Gun Safety submitted a letter expressing support the Obama administration’s rule, saying it “applauds the White House for a set of recent executive actions aimed at improving the gun background check system and giving law enforcement tools to combat gun trafficking.” Everytown added that the rule would “support enforcement of federal firearm laws by ensuring that prohibited people cannot pass a background check simply because their mental health records were not submitted to the system.”


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: Marcin Wichary - Flickr / Creative Commons)

Official Title

Providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Social Security Administration relating to Implementation of the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007.

    I'm not sure if there's a clear win here. I'm very worried about the GOP deeming LGBTQ+ folks mentally ill and therefore unable to arm ourselves. Pence has shown himself to be untrustworthy in this regard. I urge lawmakers to seek guidance from those who struggle with mental illness and those who work with them. There must be a solution that keeps us all safe.
    Like (855)
    Follow
    Share
    Our vetting to purchase a gun should be as stringent as the vetting of a refugee seeking entrance into our country
    Like (1758)
    Follow
    Share
    This was a tough one for me. I am one hundred percent behind gun control legislation and keeping guns out of the hands of people who could be potentially dangerous...however, I also truly hate the stigmatizing language in this bill ("mental defectives"--???) and worry how lawmakers will enforce it, what "mentally defective" will be defined as, etc. Mental illness and wellness exist on a spectrum and in many cases labels and diagnoses like this don't take that into account, don't illustrate that two people who may share a diagnosis actually lead drastically different lives...this is turning into a rant but basically, LANGUAGE MATTERS!
    Like (770)
    Follow
    Share
    As a psychologist it concerns me that 1) the bill uses language that is both profoundly pejorative and has no legitimate diagnostic meaning; 2) the bill and language fail to recognize that mental illnesses are quite varied both in their symptom profiles and in terms of the degree and types of impairments to functioning that they may cause; and 3) the bill presumes that mental illness in and of itself would be a root cause of potential violence which is inconsistent with data that demonstrates quite clearly that people struggling with mental illnesses are disproportionately likely to be victims of violence rather than perpetrators of violence.
    Like (690)
    Follow
    Share
    By all means, REPEAL THE DAMNED THING! The federal government should be doing all it can to FIGHT THE STIGMATIZING of people who suffer from mental illness and/or disability! Moreover, the term "mental defective" COULD be interpreted by the government to apply to anyone who disagrees with the government's views on any issue! It can also be used to justify robbing a person of one or more of his/her Constitutional rights! The term "mental defective" has EXTREMELY negative connotations. It is highly demeaning and insulting! If someone suffers from cancer, would you call that person a "physical defective"?! No! To do so would be extremely unkind and unsympathetic! Mental illnesses and disabilities are NEURO-BIOLOGICAL brain disorders. The people who suffer from them deserve to be treated with the same respect and compassion that we show the cancer patient or the quadriplegic or anyone else with a diseased or injured body! A lot of people shun those with mental disabilities out of fear and/or ignorance. MENTAL DISORDERS ARE NOT CONTAGIOUS! Yes, some people who suffer from a mental disorder can be a danger to others. They are far more likely to be a danger to themselves! That's often because of the way other people treat them. Depression can cause a person to lose hope, and it can increase the feeling of self-loathing, self-pity, and/or anxiety. Such people need a strong and caring support system! The LAST thing they need is to be treated with suspicion, or like their disability is a character flaw! If someone is so disabled that they cannot manage their own affairs, they don't deserve to be treated like they're a burden to their family or to society. Neither do they deserve to be treated like Typhoid Mary! And neither do they deserve to be labeled in a way that diminishes their worth as a human being or increases their feeling of isolation. THE NRA IS ABSOLUTELY RIGHT IN THEIR REASON FOR SUPPORTING H.J. Res. 40: The National Rifle Association expressed its disapproval of the Obama administration’s rule, saying that it “would stigmatize the entire category of beneficiaries subject to reporting” without offering them due process. In a press release, the NRA added that the regulation would “doom tens of thousands of law-abiding (and vulnerable) disability insurance and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients to a loss of Second Amendment rights under the guise of re-characterizing them as ‘mental defectives’.” https://www.nraila.org/articles/20161223/grandma-got-run-over-by-obama-ssa-finalizes-new-gun-prohibition-rule I like what Countable member DeanLA said: "I recommend you read the List of mental disorders referred to in the Description of this bill. I laughed because the Democrats/ Liberals frequently display these mental disorders. 12.08 Personality and impulse-control disorders 1. Medical documentation of a pervasive pattern of one or more of the following: Distrust and suspiciousness of others; Disregard for and violation of the rights of others; Excessive emotionality and attention seeking; Recurrent, impulsive, aggressive behavioral outbursts.
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    If someone is mentally disabled from work, they should not have access to firearms
    Like (102)
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    The stigma that mentally ill people are inherently violent is damaging to our society. Instead of regulating people based on 'potential' for violence, couldn't the law regulate selling firearms to people who have a confirmed history of violent behavior, and include a mental health evaluation for said individuals?
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    I am in support of our 2nd amendment right, but as a mental health specialist, I also support making sure guns are sold to safe individuals.
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    READ the Question. Y'all answered no but go on to say it's too broad. The question is should it be repealed!! YES
    Like (60)
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    Wow. This is dangerous! I am in favor of stricter gun control, I am also wary of using medical information to control peoples' rights. I'm not sure how many people are aware that there is a national mandate to have every american's medical record on line. This means that the government will have access to everyone's medical information. If you go to your doctor and mention that you are feeling depressed, he or she may give you an antidepressant. In order to get paid, a procedure code and diagnosis code have to be entered into the record. You now have a "psychiatric diagnosis". It does not go away. Next time you go to your dermatologist, who happens to be your next door neighbor, and whose kids play with yours,to have a mole removed, he or she will open your chart and will see that you have a "mood disorder". Oh, and if you were in therapy, and told your therapist about some really private, painful memory that might have taken you years to share, that dermatologist can see the notes about it. So, do you really want the government making decisions based on your health information? I realize that right now the law is limited to those claiming disability, and it specifies the SSA, but this is a dangerously slippery slope! Also, "mentally defective" is not a diagnosis. It sounds more like a pejorative term that could be applied casually to someone who, say, doesn't agree with the current president. The seeds of a dictatorship are being planted here...
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    I am the parent of a 27-year old son with a serious mental health condition. Because of the current law, he was unable to gain access to a gun. He and I both concur that this law saved his life (and possibly mine) when he became psychotic and suicidal. His suicide attempts would most likely have been fatal had his guns not been confiscated and his future access to them prohibited through this law. I BEG you to keep this law in place. I am willing to testify in the Senate as to he impact his law has had on our lives. judermathews19@gmail.com
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    At first I was inclined to vote in favor of mentally incapacitated individuals not owning firearms. After all, it does make sense for those with severe mental illness. However, after reading over the list of what diagnoses qualifies; I do not support this ideal. In theory, I think it's a great idea, however, this list of diagnoses needs to be trimmed back and more appropriate.
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    While the "Mental Defective" term is wildly unnecessary and ill-conceived, the list of disorders which the term applies to as outlined here is clear and unambiguous.
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    Please take note of what the vote is. If you think the terminology is good inappropriate or a slippery slope, you should want to repeal it, and vote Yay.
    Like (30)
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    Why would we want someone who cannot manage their affairs to manage a firearm? Insanity
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    I work in mental health and am a gun owner. To be disabled by a mental condition to the point where mental health professionals deem you unable to manage your own disability check is a very high threshold. I have never met anyone that disabled who is stable enough to be a responsible gun owner. PLEASE vote no.
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    For the love of God! Are we seriously debating this!
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    Vote YEA to kill this unconstitutional regulation #40. The SS bill was an attempt to blunt the 2A. Possession of a weapon is a right of all Americans.
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    People who are unable to manage their own affairs should not have guns which can end the lives of themselves or others.
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    I am in favor of strict gun laws, but invoking the term "mental defective" is a dangerous precedent in terms of the battle against mental health. It is a dangerous stigma for the government to refer to people who suffer from REAL mental health issues as "mental defectives". Mental health is no different from cancer, coronary, and other diseases.
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