The Republican-controlled United States House of Representatives voted on Thursday to undo regulations introduced by the Obama administration designed to keep guns out of the hands of people diagnosed with mental health conditions.
The House voted 235—180 to strike down the rule that would have required the Social Security Administration to submit the records of people who receive disability benefits and suffer from mental health conditions to the FBI’s Instant Criminal Background Check system. This database was intended to identify who was eligible to purchase a firearm.
Critics of the law argued that the rule impeded the Constitutional rights of citizens whose mental illness was not considered dangerous such as, for example, individuals with eating disorders. About 75,000 diagnosed Americans would have been affected.
“The Obama administration’s last minute, back-door gun grab would have stripped law-abiding Americans of their Second Amendment rights without due process,” said Chris Cox, the National Rifle Association’s lobbyist told reporters.
However, supporters of Obama’s rule argued it was designed for the protection of mentally ill people and the wider public.
“The House charged ahead with an extreme, hastily written, one-sided measure that would make the American people less safe,” Democrat Rep. Elizabeth Esty of Connecticut told the Hill.
Etsy’s state suffered a now-infamous shooting in 2012 when Adam Lanza, a diagnosed mentally ill man, murdered 20 young children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
House Republicans used the Congressional Review Act to roll back on the regulation, which will go to Senate vote before passing to President Donald Trump to sign.