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Senate votes to overrule Obama-era gun restrictions on mentally ill

[JURIST] The US Senate on Wednesday voted to reverse a 2007 law [JURIST report] an Obama-era gun regulation that required mental health information to be shared with the national gun background check system. The bill [materials], which passed the Republican controlled Senate with a vote of 57-43, instructs the Social Security Administration to cease implementation of a portion of the 2007 NICS Improvement Act [text, PDF] that prohibited individuals from buying guns if they were unable to work due to mental impairment and also unable to manage their own social security benefits. Republicans, led by Iowa senator Chuck Grassley [official website] said the regulation would "unfairly stigmatize" [text of speech] those with disabilities, providing such individuals with no formal hearing or due process before the revocation of their right to purchase a weapon. Grassley said further that criticism of the bill suggesting it might impair law enforcement was "hogwash." The measure was already approved [JURIST report] by the House, and it is expected that President Donald Trump will sign the bill.

Gun control [JURIST backgrounder] continues to be a controversial national topic, and gun awareness has risen over the last decade as numerous shootings have received wide publicity. The 2007 law reversed Wednesday was itself passed in the wake of the Virginia Tech shooting [JURIST report]. In December Ohio Governor John Kasich signed an open carry bill [JURIST report] for Ohio college campuses. Last May the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that the Second Amendment protects the right to buy and sell guns [JURIST report]. Before that in January former US President Barack Obama announced executive actions on gun control [JURIST report].

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