Senate poised to repeal Obama gun rule

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Senate Republicans are set to repeal an Obama administration regulation that prevents individuals with mental health conditions from purchasing firearms. The Senate vote on a resolution of disapproval to scrap the rule is expected to happen about 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.  

The rule, which was implemented in December 2016, extended federal background checks for gun purchases by some Social Security recipients with mental disabilities. The Obama-era measure requires the Social Security Administration to report to the FBI’s background check system those individuals who receive disability benefits and have mental disorders.  An estimated 75,000 beneficiaries are affected by the rule. 

Judiciary Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, who has sponsored his own bill on gun ownership and mental health, opposed the Obama rule. 

“The Second Amendment, as a fundamental right, requires the government to carry the burden to show a person has dangerous mental illness,” he said. “This regulation obviously and simply does not achieve that.” 

The House voted to overturn the regulation in early February by a vote of 235 yeas to 185 nays.  The Senate is expected to pass the resolution of disapproval and send the measure to the White House for the president’s signature.