Republicans repeal law blocking people with severe mental illness from owning guns

Lawmakers that supported the rule are worried about what this may mean for family members that take care of mentally ill individuals.


The United States House of Representatives struck down an Obama-era regulation that prevented those with a severe mental illness from buying a firearm.

The House voted 235-180 to roll back the rule, which has long been opposed by the National Rifle Association.

Under the rule it was required that individuals that are receiving disability benefits from the Social Security Administration and also have a mental health condition are to be reported to the FBI’s background check system. This database it what is used to determine eligibility for buying a firearm.

The NRA and other critics of the rule argued that this stripped individuals of their Second Amendment rights. According to the group the rule is too overreaching, and prevents anyone with a mental illness, not just those that are dangerously mentally ill, from buying a gun.

Chris Cox, a lobbyist for the NRA, stated: “The Obama administration’s last minute, back-door gun grab would have stripped law-abiding Americans of their Second Amendment rights without due process.”

Supporters of the rule disagree, stating that the rule was necessary to keep guns out of the hands of individuals with severe mental disorders, such as schizophrenia. The rule was set to take force in December and would have allowed for people that were reported to the FBI database to appeal in court.

Lawmakers that supported the rule are worried about what this may mean for family members that take care of mentally ill individuals:

“They have a right to protect their loved ones who may use a weapon against themselves or their family members,” said Rep. Jim McGovern.

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Ruth Milka started as an intern for NationofChange in 2015. Known for her thoughtful and thorough approach, Ruth is committed to shedding light on the intersection of environmental issues and their impact on human communities. Her reporting consistently highlights the urgency of environmental challenges while emphasizing the human stories at the heart of these issues. Ruth’s work is driven by a passion for truth and a dedication to informing the public about critical global matters concerning the environment and human rights.