Senate Votes to Roll Back Obama Gun Regulation

Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., was among four Democrats and an independent who sided Wednesday with majority Republicans as the Senate voted to overturn an executive-branch rule that might prevent certain people with mental disorders from buying guns.

After the Sandy Hook shooting tragedy which killed 20 children and six adults in 2012, President Barack Obama introduced a measure that required the Social Security Administration to report information on people with mental illness to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

President Donald Trump is set to approve revoking the rule, his first action on guns since taking power.

"If the regulation is not repealed, it will allow the agency to very unfairly deprive Social Security recipients of their Second Amendment rights", Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa, the resolution's sponsor, said during Tuesday's debate on the measure.

"If a specific individual is likely to be violent due to the nature of their mental illness, then the government should have to prove it", Grassley said, according to the news service.

He added, "Today's vote brings us one step closer to reversing this misguided regulation and reaffirming our commitment to guarding the constitutional rights of all Americans".

But opponents argued the rule was too broad and overestimated the risk to the public. "As Yale's Dr. Mark Rosen observed when the rule was first adumbrated, the link between financial acumen and mental illness is extraordinarily weak: "'Someone can be incapable of managing their funds but not be risky, violent or unsafe, ' said Dr. Marc Rosen, a Yale psychiatrist who has studied how veterans with mental health problems manage their money. "This regulation obviously and simply does not achieve that".

The AP notes that Murphy added: "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".

"The regulation at issue here was issued by the Social Security Administration under President Obama".

The American Civil Liberties Union was also against the rule, also saying it stigmatized the mentally ill.

Meanwhile, the GOP-led House will seek to rescind more Obama-era regulations later Wednesday, including a Labor Department rule that critics say unduly restricts efforts in some states to test unemployment insurance applicants for drug use.

  • Elsie Buchanan