By: David John Schmidt
Recently, the Senate approved a bill which rescinds an Obama-era directive in gun legislation. The directive was designed to restrict certain mentally ill individuals from purchasing a firearm. The bill originated in the House of Representatives, thus it is now on its way to the Oval Office to be enacted by President Trump. Throughout the campaign trail, Trump marketed himself as a friend of the NRA (National Rifle Association) and supporter of the 2nd Amendment, thus many Washington insiders and media outlets believe that Trump will be signing the order.
The rule that is potentially on the verge of being scrapped, mandated that “the Social Security Administration to report the records of some mentally ill beneficiaries to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System”, according to NPR. Likewise, the main beneficiaries that would be affected are the ones that are unable to sufficiently manage their own finances individually. Furthermore, the rule was fashioned as a retort to the 2012 Sandy Hook Shooting, which saw a 20-year-old man murder children and teachers.
Furthermore, many Republican congresspeople have quantified that the regulation on the verge of being scrapped broadly categorized “people with mental illnesses with too broad a brush…” To further back this argument, one Republican Senator has voiced that the directive initiated by former President Obama included equivocal characteristics, which do not coincide with current federal descriptions of psychologically defective standards, which bars individuals from purchasing a firearm when it is their constitutional right. Furthermore, that same Senator informed others that it must be the Government’s job to prove that an individual is mentally incapable of owning a firearm.
Moreover, both the National Rifle Association and the American Civil Liberties Union have both voiced their displeasure with the directive for many reasons. The National Rifle Association’s purpose for its displeasure is that they believe that the directive infringes on the individual’s’ constitutional rights, and the American Civil Liberties Union states that the directive has the potential of casting the perception that all mentally ill persons are of violent nature.
The heavily dominated Republican Congress initiated this repeal under the act known as “The Congressional Review Act”, which affords them the ability to repeal protocols that were inputted by the Executive Branch. Likewise, “The Congressional Review Act” also affords the Republicans a straight away that got it to this level, which was that it only needed a simple majority in the Senate to advance ahead, therefore halting any potential Democratic filibuster. This however, has not stopped some Democrats from voicing their displeasure over the repeal of this regulation.