Senate Votes to Ax Obama-Era Gun Rule

Posted February 16, 2017

The rule on the verge of rollback would have required the Social Security Administration to report the records of some mentally ill beneficiaries to the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System. The Senate voted 57-43 to rescind the rule, following House passage largely along party lines on February 2.

Opponents of the rule, including the National Rifle Association, contended that the regulation violated those people's constitutional right to gun ownership.

Republicans argued Obama's rule unfairly discriminated against certain people's Second Amendment rights. Gun violence groups like The Brady Campaign, named after former White House Press Secretary James Brady who was shot and wounded in an assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan, fought the repeal.

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"As we have seen these mass shooters walk into places like Sandy Hook Elementary School or a movie theater in Colorado or a classroom in Blacksburg, we know that people with serious mental illness in this country can go buy a weapon and do serious damage with it", Murphy said in the Senate debate.

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"If you can't manage your own financial affairs, how can we expect that you're going to be a responsible steward of a risky, lethal firearm", he said. Passage of the resolution puts others at risk, they said. But Grassley said federal law requires a formal hearing and judgment before depriving someone of owning a firearm due to mental illness.

"The Second Amendment, as a fundamental right, requires the government to carry the burden to show a person has unsafe mental illness, ". "Even the American Civil Liberties union opposed Obama's overreaching restriction".

An Obama-era rule on gun background checks is one step away from being overturned.

"Here, the rule automatically conflates one disability-related characteristic, that is, difficulty managing money, with the inability to safely possess a firearm", the organization said.