WASHINGTON —The House of Representatives approved its first effort of the new Congress to roll back gun regulations, voting to overturn a rule that would bar gun ownership by some who have been deemed mentally impaired by the Social Security Administration.
The House voted 235-180 largely along party lines Thursday to repeal an Obama-era rule requiring the Social Security Administration to send records of some beneficiaries to the federal firearms background check system after they’ve been deemed mentally incapable of managing their financial affairs.
The rule, when implemented, would affect about 75,000 recipients of disability insurance and supplemental insurance income who require a representative to manage their benefits because of a disabling mental disorder, ranging from anxiety to schizophrenia. It applies to those between age 18 and full retirement age.
Republicans argued the rule, which was vigorously opposed by gun-rights and disability groups, would unfairly stigmatize people with disabilities and strip them of their Second Amendment rights without due process.
“This is a slap in the face for those in the disabled community because it paints all those who suffer from mental disorders with the same broad brush,” said House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va. “It assumes that simply because an individual suffers from a mental condition, that individual is unfit to exercise his or her Second Amendment rights.”
Democrats agreed the government must not stigmatize those with disabilities but said this rule affects a small group with severe, long-term mental disorders preventing them from doing any work. Passage of the resolution puts others at risk, they said.