Ann Coulter appeared on Sean Hannity’s show on Feb. 5, and accused liberals and the ACLU of being the problem when it comes to gun violence. According to her, these groups will not lift a finger to do anything about the mentally ill, and thus, are not serious about wanting to do something about the violence. She rants that all these mass shooters are “crazy people,” and liberal talking points regarding gun violence are lies. She goes on to say,
“The problem with universal background checks is we basically have the universal background checks now. Any licensed gun dealer is performing a background check. The buyer may not know, someone at a gun show may not know, but if you’re walking through a gun show, everybody’s doing background checks. The only people who are not subjected to background checks are collectors, giving guns to their sons, or they’re selling one to their brother-in-law, or something. The only way to enforce a universal on the last .1% of guns that are transferred by collectors and so on is to have universal gun registration.”
She then invoked the fallacious slippery slope argument by saying that universal registration will lead to “universal confiscation,” which, of course, leads to “universal extermination.” She warned people not to fall for it.
A problem with her argument is that, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, 40% of the gun sales that occur here in the U.S. do not require a background check, not .1%, as Ms. Coulter claims. So 40% of the guns that are sold go to buyers regardless of whether they can legally purchase a weapon.
Later on, Coulter goes on a rant about the deinstitutionalized movement, where it was decided that it was better to treat the mentally ill in the community instead of in institutions decades ago. In response to Hannity’s comment about the media racing to every Republican asking what they think of Obama’s comments on guns, immigration, and climate change, she interrupts to say,
“Not only that just to follow up on your point right there. It’s not just that they are talking about it, it’s that they must demonize people who are legal gun owners and ‘Obama, ohhhh, look at him. He cares about the children.’ Screw you. You don’t think we care about the children? You’re the one who won’t do anything about the mentally ill.
Do you know mass murders have gone up astronomically in the last 30 years since the de-institutional movement? This is as the homicide rate is going down. Homeless people have gone up. Mass shootings have gone up. Homicide rate has gone down; it is the mentally ill and liberals won’t do anything about it.”
When it comes to mental health spending, Republicans have either pushed many cuts, or voted against legislation that would have bolstered access to mental health care and funding for such care, many times over the last 30 years. It was Ronald Reagan, an idol of many current Republicans, including Coulter, who actually slashed spending for social services, including mental health services. Today, Republicans are still trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which requires the insurance exchanges to provide mental health and substance abuse care as part of their packages.
She also ignores the fact that other measures aimed to improve funding for mental healthcare, and improve access to it, have bi-partisan support in most places, including in Congress. The Mental Health First Aid Act of 2013 was created by a bi-partisan coalition of senators, and includes Mark Begich (D-AK), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Kelly Ayote (R-NH) among its 19 co-sponsors.
Furthermore, President Obama himself has shown support for addressing mental illness. He’s working to finalize the requirements in the ACA for insurance exchanges to provide coverage for mental health care the same as they do for physical healthcare, improve awareness among teachers and school officials to recognize the signs of mental illness in children, and much more.
Liberals won’t address mental illness? The entire segment was full of misconceptions, twisted facts, and blatant falsehoods.
Here’s the video: