After yet another mass murder involving an assault weapon made national news, Senator Chuck Grassley told reporters on February 15, “we have not done a very good job of making sure that people that have mental reasons for not being able to handle a gun getting their name into the FBI files and we need to concentrate on that.” Similarly, Senator Joni Ernst said today that the U.S. needs more “focus” on mental illness, not gun control. (Not that she has any ideas on how to address that problem.)
The talking point is bogus, because people with mental illness aren’t more likely than others to commit violent crimes, and mental illness isn’t any more prevalent in the U.S. than in other countries that experience far fewer mass shootings.
But let’s leave that aside for the moment. A year ago, all of Iowa’s Republicans in Congress voted with their GOP colleagues to overturn “a sensible Obama administration rule designed to stop people with severe mental problems from buying guns.”