Gun rights advocates have reason to celebrate as the Senate just voted to undo what they feel is a repressive Obama gun regulation preventing people receiving Social Security disability benefits from exercising their Second Amendment rights and purchasing guns.
Voting 57-43, senators effectively struck down a regulation enacted during former President Obama's second term in office that requires the Social Security Administration to report people who receive disability benefits and have a mental health condition to the FBI and be subject to the agency's background check system. The FBI's database is then used to determine citizens' eligibility for buying a gun.
President Donald Trump is expected to sign the resolution once it reaches his desk. President Trump has spoken during the intense presidential campaign calling for less regulations in gun ownership and strongly supporting the Second Amendment, in stark contrast to Hillary Clinton's stand for more gun regulation consistent with the policies of Obama. Gun rights activists and advocates threw their all-out support to Trump during the campaign, even funding TV ads in his favor.
The rule preventing people receiving Social Security disability benefits from buying guns was implemented by the Obama administration in wild reaction to the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, where 20 children and six educators were killed.
Gun rights advocates and activists argued that the said rule of Obama stripped people of their Second Amendment rights even for those who are not dangerously mentally ill, such as people dealing only with eating or sleeping disorders or disabilities that prevent them from managing their own finances. Do these conditions conclusively determine they can not exercise sound judgment when faced with an emergency and they need to defend themselves? Can they not handle guns responsibly?
20 disability groups have come out against the regulation. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has spoken for them and noted that the reality is that these groups believe the regulation is simply bad policy, and places such an unfair stigma on those with disabilities and violates their constitutional rights.
The influential National Rifle Association, staunch supporter of President Trump, fervently opposed the said regulation. The group asserted that the determination of who is mentally ill should be left to the competencies of the courts.
Republicans are utilizing the Congressional Review Act that allows them to quickly dismantle Obama-implemented regulations. The Act allows them to bypass the Senate's higher 60 needed votes threshold, which otherwise would have required the support of Democrats before undoing a rule with a simple majority from both chambers.