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GOP-Controlled House Overturns Obama’s Gun Rule Preventing Sales To Mentally Ill

Less than one week after President Donald Trump signed an executive order barring refugees, visa holders, and US immigrants with green cards from seven countries from re-entering the United States under the guise of national safety and security, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives has passed legislation repealing former President Barack Obama’s gun rule designed to keep guns out of the hands of those with mental illness severe enough to warrant disability.

Repeal Of Obama’s Gun Rule Keeping Guns From The Mentally Ill Passes House

According to The Hill, the House voted 235-182 for the repeal of Obama’s gun rule requiring the Social Security Administration to report mental disability benefits to the FBI database for gun purchase background checks. The repeal has been supported by the National Rifle Association and their top lobbyist, Chris Cox, hailed the vote on Thursday.

“The Obama administration’s last-minute, backdoor gun grab would have stripped law-abiding citizen Americans of their Second Amendment rights without due process.”

Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia) told The Washington Post that the vote was a victory for Second Amendment rights regarding gun ownership and claiming that “there is no evidence suggesting that those receiving disability benefits from this Social Security Administration are a threat to public safety.”

Gun Ban To Mentally Ill Inspired By Sandy Hook Tragedy

Former President Barack Obama put the rule in place after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on December 14, 2012. Twenty children and six staff members were killed when a gunman with a history of mental health issues killed his mother and used a gun and ammunition his mother kept in the home to open fire at the school.

sandy hook victims' families
[Image By Win McNamee/Getty Images]

House Republicans used the Congressional Review Act to overturn Obama’s gun rule. The Congressional Review Act allows them to overturn rules with new resolutions that can’t be filibustered in the Senate, which also has a GOP majority at this time.

Democrats weren’t so happy with yet another repeal of Obama’s legacy and accused the GOP-led House of catering to NRA lobbyists and Second Amendment extremists, including Rep. Mike Thompson (D-California).

“These are not people just having a bad day. These in a 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 fares, to the loss is very clear the leap they shouldn’t have a firearm.”

Obama’s gun rule prevented gun sales to those with such severe mental disorders as schizophrenia, which can create auditory and visual hallucinations in those affected by it if not managed with the correct medications.

Elizabeth Esty (D-Connecticut) pointed out the possible safety repercussions to the American public, despite recent executive orders executed by President Trump in the name of national security. Last weekend, protesters flooded international airports as President Trump’s latest executive order called for detaining refugees, visa holders, and even green card holders with permanent residency from returning to their homes and families in the name of safety.

“The House charged ahead with an extreme, hastily written, one-sided measure that would make the American people less safe.”

GOP-Controlled House And Senate Also Repeal Obama’s Rule Preventing Dumping Of Coal Mining Waste In Streams

Just the day before, the GOP-controlled House also struck down the Obama-era protection that prevented coal companies from dumping coal mining waste into streams, and the Senate also voted Thursday to repeal the stream protection rule. All the measure needs now is the signature of President Trump to go into effect.

The repeal of Obama’s gun rule still awaits approval from the Senate, where Republicans have a 52-48 majority. However, the repeal of this stream protection rule has already passed the Senate by a 54-45 vote, with four Democrats supporting the repeal of the environmental protection from coal mining waste: Joe Donnelly (D-Indiana), Heidi Heitkamp (D-North Dakota), Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), and Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri.)

Susan Collins (R-Maine) was the sole Republican voting against overturning the stream protections. Collins is also one of two Republican senators who has stated they will vote against Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education, whose confirmation vote is scheduled for Friday morning.

[Featured Image by Alex Wong/Getty Images]

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