NRA: 'Today marks a new era for law-abiding gun owners'

Casey Mills
March 3, 2017

President Trump has undone one of his predecessor's final executive actions, a measure created to make it harder for the mentally ill to own guns.

Just before he offered the first big address of his presidency, Trump quietly signed a bill undoing an Obama-era regulation that had made it more hard for people with mental illness to buy guns. A beneficiary who had his check sent to a third party could catch the Social Security Administration's attention, be investigated, and turned over to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to be barred from gun purchases.

Senators voted down the Obama regulation by a vote of 57 to 43 last month, with President Trump signing that decision into law on Tuesday, NPR reported.

The Obama administration predicted the rule would affect roughly 75,000 people.

And according to a report by the Office of the Inspector General at the Social Security Administration, 81,000 disability awardees would have met the criteria in fiscal year 2015, which amounts to about 9% of the total disability awardee population.

Such individuals would have been allowed to request a relief from any firearm prohibitions if they could show evidence that they didn't pose a risk to public safety. It went into effect on January 18 but compliance wasn't mandated till December of this year.

But lawmakers, the National Rifle Association and even the American Civil Liberties Union criticized the rule, saying it unfairly stigmatized the disabled and infringed on their constitutional right to bear arms.

He said: "We know that people with serious mental illness in this country can go buy a very powerful weapon and do great damage with it".

That regulation had required records of some mentally ill people who received disability benefits to be reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for background checking. "And these are people who are already at the bottom of our social status". They were to be notified that they might not be eligible to own a gun, though they could appeal. "They get it. They understand it", Abraham said.

Other reports by MyHealthBowl

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