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Published: Thu, February 16, 2017
World | By Ernestine Jimenez

Senate clears roll back of background-check rule for president's signature

Senate clears roll back of background-check rule for president's signature

The Republican-led Senate is moving to block an Obama-era regulation that would prevent an estimated 75,000 people with mental disorders from being able to purchase a firearm.

While framing the regulation as something that prevents "mentally incompetent people from buying guns" may make it sound like common sense, the reality - as KSHB notes - is that "the debate isn't so cut-and-dry".

Grassley claimed the regulation unfairly stigmatizes people with disabilities and noted it was opposed by more than 20 disability and civil rights groups.

Specifically, the regulation repealed required the Social Security Administration to submit information about mentally impaired recipients to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) administered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The vote scored 57 to 43 in favor of revoking the regulation, which is now on its way to President Trump's desk, who is expected to sign it.

These individuals would be flagged in a federal background check.

And the ACLU actually agreed with that argument, urging House representatives to vote to roll back the regulation.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, the author of the resolution, argued that the regulation is overly broad.

"If you can't manage your own financial affairs, how can we expect that you're going to be a responsible steward of a unsafe, lethal firearm", Murphy said. "There is no evidence to support that general idea, and consequently, people being denied constitutional rights without due process", says Grassley.

"If there are problems with this rule, they can be addressed by fixing it", said Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin, Illinois Democrat.

On separation-of-powers grounds, the prospect of the Social Security Administration playing judge, jury, and executioner is flatly intolerable. Citing the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, Arizona, the Newtown, Connecticut, massacre and the killing of 32 people at Virginia Tech, the groups said loopholes in federal law have allowed people who are clearly a danger to themselves and others to obtain guns.

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