Senate invalidates Obama rule that forbids certain mentally ill people from purchasing guns
The House resolution, advocating the overturn of Obama-era gun rule, was cleared earlier this month and has now been sent to the White House for President Trump’s signature. The Republican-led US senate voted Wednesday to bring down the rule which prevents certain people with mental health conditions from purchasing firearms. The bill was approved by a 57-43 margin.
In the run up to the 2017 presidential election, Donald Trump campaigned as the guardian of gun rights, in the wake of a shooting spree by a 26-year-old gunman named Christopher Harper Mercer in Oregon.
Since Donald Trump has been fiercely supporting the idea of every US citizen to be equipped with a gun, it is eagerly anticipated that he’ll sign the measure soon. President Trump lives by the idea – “If you don’t carry a gun, you’re choosing to be a victim.” That’s exactly what he was heard saying while campaigning as a 2016 presidential candidate nominee. To the surprise of many Democrats, Trump also garnered a big fan following for his trigger-happy views about gun laws.
The Obama administration rule would have required the Social Security Administration to add more mental health records to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System with a view to keeping guns out of reach of criminals or people with mental disorders. The previous administration’s gun law, therefore, impacts a total of 75,000 people who have been viewed as mentally unfit to manage their financial affairs on their own. President Obama enforced this rule after the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting which claimed the lives of 26 people at an elementary school and was carried out by a 20-year-old guy named Adam Lanza.
The Obama-era gun rule was opposed by many for its heavy-handedness. First, for its limitations on the second amendment and second, for its hypothetical standards for the evaluation of mental defectiveness. Most of the critics believed that such a rule is actually an infringement on Americans’ constitutional rights. The Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley said, “It’s filled with vague characteristics that do not fit into the federal mentally defective standard.”
On the other hand, Democrats defended the Obama administration rule by saying that it is designed in a way to take only those into consideration who were disabled to the extent that they needed someone’s help to collect their payments for them. “If there are problems with this rule, they can be addressed by fixing it,” said Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin, Illinois Democrat. In response, Mr Grassley said that amendments are inadequate to put the heavily-flawed rule in good order.
So, with a GOP president in control of the White House now, Congress invoked the Congressional Review Act and cleared Wednesday’s ‘Resolution of Disapproval’. The Congressional Review Act is a tool that the Senate can use to shield itself from delaying tactics by the opposing side.
The National Rifle Association has extended its support in favor of the legislation as it awaits the final stamp of approval from Trump.
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