By a 57-43 margin, the Republican-led Senate voted Wednesday to repeal an Obama-era regulation created to block certain mentally ill people from purchasing firearms. Senate approval on Tuesday would send the measure to President Donald Trump, who is expected to sign it.
The Senate passed HJ Resolution 40, which reversed a last-minute regulation established by the Social Security Administration in December 2016 that allowed the agency to give information to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) on recipients of disability insurance and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) if the government concluded they were mentally unstable. All 43 votes against revoking the rule were cast by Democratic senators.
"Republicans consistently say we don't need new gun laws, we just need better enforcement of the laws already on the books", Sen. "This is essentially a national gun ban list".
With a Republican ally in the White House, the GOP is moving aggressively on gun rights measures. He said that the mental disorders covered through the regulation are filled with "vague characteristics that do not fit into the federal mentally defective standard" prohibiting someone from buying or owning a gun.
"Today's Senate vote was the next step in rolling back some of the egregious government overreach that characterized the Obama era", Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA, said in a statement.
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Democrats said the rule was carefully tailored so that only people who were so incapacitated that they had someone receive their payments for them would be considered.
"The Second Amendment, as a fundamental right, requires the government to carry the burden to show a person has risky mental illness, ".
The American Civil Liberties Union also sought the repeal of the rule as well.
It passed the House of Representatives last week.
"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.