Speed Reads

parkland school shooting

The White House has a photo of Trump easing gun restrictions for the mentally ill but, oddly, won't release it

In his speech Thursday about Wednesday's mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, President Trump focused on mental illness, after earlier tweeting about the "mentally disturbed" guy who murdered 17 people. Exactly a year earlier, Congress had passed a bill nullifying a rule designed to keep guns out of the hands of people with mental illness, and Trump signed it two weeks later. A White House photographer took photos of Trump signing the bill in a closed-door ceremony, CBS News reported Thursday, but it has declined 12 requests to release the photo to the public.

On MSNBC Thursday night, Rachel Maddow found this to be a curious anomaly. "You have seen a gazillion photo ops of President Trump signing all sorts of things, right?" she said. "Except for the bill he signed that makes it easier for mentally ill people to access guns. ... It's almost like they don't want to admit that the first materially significant legislation this president signed was specifically and only designed to get more guns into the hands of more seriously mentally ill people."

It's not clear that presumptive Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz would have been among the 75,000 people with diagnosed serious mental illness placed on the federal database blocking gun sales, but Trump and his fellow Republicans are the ones focusing on mental illness after this and other mass shootings. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), for example, was the lead Senate sponsor of the gun and mental illness law Trump signed, and this is what he had to say Thursday. Peter Weber