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Donald Trump Restores Right to Buy Guns to the Mentally ill

New York: US President Donald Trump confirmed on Tuesday the repeal of the regulation imposed by former President Barack Obama to stop people with mental problems from buying guns, in a victory for gun-rights groups like the National Rifle Association (NRA).

Trump, as expected, signed the proposal into law, one of the first promoted by the new US Congress following last November’s presidential election and the Republican’s victory over Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, Efe news agency reported.

The Republicans also came away with the majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, and so were able to push through this legislation two weeks ago.

The ban that has now been repealed was promoted by Obama as part of his plan to increase control over access to firearms following the Newtown Sandy Hook school massacre in 2012, when 20 children and six teachers were gunned down.

The regulation, estimated to affect some 75,000 people, required the Social Security Administration to report to the federal government the names of people receiving disability benefits because of mental health problems, in order to block them from buying arms.

Tuesday’s decision was cheered by the NRA, the principal group promoting the right of individual citizens to bear arms.

“Today’s Senate vote was the next step in rolling back some of the egregious government overreaches that characterised the Obama era,” Chris W. Cox, the executive director of the NRA gun lobby, said last week when he heard about the Senate’s decision.

For his part, Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut, where the Newtown massacre occurred, indignantly pointed out that the repealed regulation only affected a small number of people.

“The risk is that someone who can’t literally deposit their own paycheck probably can’t, or likely can’t, responsibly own and protect a gun,” he said before voting “No” to the proposal in a plenary session of the Senate.

Organisations that favor gun control also expressed their objections.

“Make no mistake, this vote was really about deepening the gun industry’s customer pool, at the expense of those in danger of hurting themselves or others,” said Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

First Published: March 1, 2017, 8:48 AM IST

Source: News18