Earlier this month, the House of Representatives voted to scrap a regulation put in place by the Obama administration requiring a background check for Social Security recipients mentally incapable of managing their own affairs.
Today, the Senate voted 57 to 43 to eliminate the regulation. Independent Sen. Angus King (ME) and Democratic Sens. Joe Donnelly (IN), Joe Manchin (WV), Jon Tester (MT) and Heidi Heitkamp (ND) voted with Republicans.
Before the Senate voted on the issue, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) took to the floor to explain his reason for wanting to throw out the regulation:
…The agency regulation is defective in many ways. Namely, the regulation does not require the agency to prove a person is dangerous or mentally ill. The regulation also provides NO formal hearing or due process before a person is reported to the gun ban list.
Supporters of the gun ban have said that repeal of this regulation will interfere with enforcement of gun prohibition laws—but that is hogwash. We should not let baseless scare tactics confuse this important issue.Important federal gun laws are still on the books even if the agency rule is repealed. We aren’t repealing any laws.
The new regulation is inconsistent with existing federal gun laws.
The agency still has a duty to report anyone who has actually been adjudicated as dangerously mentally ill to the gun ban list. That is also true of anyone convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence or involuntarily committed to a mental institution.…Repealing this regulation will ensure that disabled citizen’s Second Amendment rights are protected. Those rights will no longer be able to be revoked without a hearing and without due process. It will take more than the personal opinion of a bureaucrat.
“The Republicans are so hypocritical on this issue,” said Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who became an outspoken critic of gun violence after the Sandy Hook massacre in his state. “They constantly say we should be enforcing existing law, and then they are, at the same time, rewriting the law so that fewer people will be put on the criminal background check system.”
1) Congress repeals rule to keep guns from mentally ill; say they didn’t want to “stigmatize” disabilities http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/congress-repeal-gun-rules-mentally-ill_us_58a387f2e4b0ab2d2b1a3f1b?ncid=engmodushpmg00000004 …
2) By law, Americans who are adjudicated as mentally ill are barred from buying guns and their records are supposed to be added to NICS.
3) Federal officials have complained that NICS data is incomplete, prompting President Bush to sign NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007.
4) Still, little was done to gather data from the various federal agencies regarding mental illness and firearm possession.
5) #SandyHook prompted Obama administration to renew efforts, leading to SSA rule in 2015 that was finalized just last December.
6) “In the end, they’re going to do what the gun lobby asks them to do,” said @ChrisMurphyCT
9) It couldn’t be more obvious where Congress’s priorities are: Keeping @NRA lobbyists happy rather than keeping Americans safe.