On Thursday the GOP-controlled House voted to overturn an Obama administration rule designed to keep firearms out of the hands of some people deemed mentally ill.
The action was the latest move by Congressional Republicans to undo several of President Obama’s regulations on issues such as gun control and the environment through an arcane law called the Congressional Review Act (CRA).
According to NPR’s Susan Davis, the measure being blocked from implementation would have required the Social Security Administration to send records of some beneficiaries with severe mental disabilities to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System. About 75,000 people found mentally incapable of managing their financial affairs would have been affected.
The National Rifle Association had pushed for the repeal, and Republicans argued it infringed upon Second Amendment rights by denying due process.
Supporters of the rule argued it was designed to stop mentally ill persons from getting firearms.
“The House charged ahead with an extreme, hastily written, one-sided measure that would make the American people less safe,” Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-Conn., said, according to The Hill. Esty represents Newtown, Conn., where a mentally ill man shot and killed 20 six- and seven-year-olds and six adults.
NPR’s Nathan Rott reports that the Senate also passed a resolution to undo the Obama administration’s Stream Protection Rule, also largely along party lines, by using the CRA. The goal of the rule was to minimize coal mine pollutants in waterways, and would have required coal companies to monitor water quality in nearby streams during mining operations. Republicans argued the law was too burdensome and would kill jobs in the coal industry.