This Thursday, Congressional Republicans struck down an Obama-era gun regulation that aimed to keep firearms away from the mentally ill.
It goes without saying that weapons should be kept from those with schizophrenia and other serious mental problems, but the proposal affected all social security recipients who use a representative payee to manage their finances.
The rule required the Social Security Administration to submit these names to the FBI’s background check system – a database used when determining eligibility for gun purchases.
The National Rifle Association (NRA) and others argue that the sweeping measure was an infringement of basic rights, and that the determination about who is or isn’t mentally ill should be handled by courts.
“The Obama Administration’s last minute, back-door gun grab would have stripped law-abiding Americans of their Second Amendment rights without due process,” argues NRA advocate Chris Cox. “Today’s vote was the first step in revoking this unconstitutional action.”
“There is, simply put, no nexus between the inability to manage money and the ability to safely and responsibly own, possess, or use a firearm,” wrote the National Council on Disability, calling the rule an “arbitrary linkage” that “unreasonably deprives individuals with disabilities of a constitutional right.”
The 235-180 vote was part of a larger effort to retract a series of regulations issued during Obama’s last months in office, with Republicans taking advantage of the Congressional Review Act to overturn regulations put into place during the past six months.
This special regulation expedites the process by allowing the Senate to sidestep the 60-vote threshold, meaning it can pass laws without Democratic support.