Trump Admin Refuses to Release Photo of Ernst-Supported Bill Signing to Weaken Mental Illness Gun Restrictions

The gun rule repeal was also supported by Chuck Grassley in the Senate and all of Iowa’s Republican congressmen — Rod Blum, Steve King, and David Young — in the House

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WhiteHouse.gov Youtube screenshot CBS News

In the wake of the mass shooting Wednesday at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead, CBS News reported that it had for months been trying without success to obtain a photograph of President Trump signing HJ Resolution 40, a bill making it easier for mentally ill Americans to obtain guns.

The bill repealed a pending Obama administration rule made in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting that claimed the lives of 27 people. Trump undid it through the Congressional Review Act, a law that allows Congress to repeal newly enacted resolutions. Had the rule gone into effect, it would have added an estimated 75,000 people to a database restricting them from purchasing firearms.

HJ Resolution 40 was supported by Sen. Joni Ernst, pictured above at a separate executive order signing at which Trump rescinded the Waters of the United States clean water law the same day on Feb. 28, 2017. The gun rule repeal was also supported by Chuck Grassley in the Senate and all of Iowa’s Republican congressmen — Rod Blum, Steve King, and David Young — in the House.

After the Parkland shooting, Ernst told a Cedar Rapids TV station that the National Rifle Association has not affected her policy decisions in the Senate. However, she is one of the NRA’s top-funded members of Congress, having received $3.1 million in support from the organization since her successful 2014 bid for the Senate after Democrat Tom Harkin’s retirement.

Data via the Center for Responsive Politics
Data via the Center for Responsive Politics

“What we have to do is to make sure the laws that are in place are being followed,” Ernst told the station. “In many of the instances there have been loopholes that need to be closed.”

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Gavin Aronsen is an editor and reporter for and founding member of the Iowa Informer. He previously worked as a city reporter for the Ames Tribune, research assistant to investigative journalist Wayne Barrett at the Village Voice, and in various roles at Mother Jones, where his work contributed to a National Magazine Award nomination for the magazine's digital media coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Email: garonsen [at] iowainformer [dot] com.