The House voted 235-180 Thursday to scrap an Obama rule to extend background checks on gun purchases by disabled Social Security recipients determined to be mentally incapable of managing their own affairs.
According to the Washington Post, the rule required the Social Security Administration to provide information to the gun-buying background-check system about recipients with mental disorders so severe that they cannot hold a job and need someone else to handle their benefits, a rule that would have affected about 75,000 beneficiaries.
“There is no evidence suggesting that those receiving disability benefits from the Social Security Administration are a threat to public safety,” Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said.
“Once an unelected bureaucrat unfairly adds these folks to the federal background check system, they are no longer able to exercise their Second Amendment right,” Goodlatte said.
From the Washington Post:
After the 2012 school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, Obama directed the Justice Department to provide guidance to agencies regarding information they are obligated to report to the background check system.
In Newtown, 20 children and six educators were shot to death when a gunman entered the Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012. The gunman had earlier killed his mother inside their home, and he used a gun and ammunition that she had purchased. His mental health problems have been extensively reported since the shooting.
The Post reports that Democrats accused Republicans of doing the bidding of the National Rifle Association, which opposed the rule.
“These are not people just having a bad day,” Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.) said. “These are not people simply suffering from depression or anxiety or agoraphobia. These are people with a severe mental illness who can’t hold any kind of job or make any decisions about their affairs, so the law says very clearly they shouldn’t have a firearm.”
The NRA and the ACLU agree that overturning the rule will protect vulnerable citizens from “government overreach.”
The ACLU told lawmakers that a disability should not be automatic grounds for denial of any right or privilege, including gun ownership.
Read more at the Washington Post.