By a vote of 57-43, the U.S. Senate on Wednesday derailed an Obama administration gun control regulation that critics said threatened the Second Amendment rights of tens of thousands of Social Security beneficiaries with apparent “mental disorders” by adding their names to the National Instant Background Check System.
That regulation had been opposed by gun rights and civil rights organizations. It was one of the targets of Second Amendment groups depending upon a Republican-controlled Congress to undo some of Barack Obama’s actions, and it was an important one. The regulation rollback now goes to President Donald Trump, who is expected to sign it, according to Fox News.
It was the first of what may become a string of setbacks for the gun prohibition lobby, and one gun rights leader, Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, characterized it as an “overreaching restriction.”
“This rule was more about disqualifying as many people as possible from exercising their Second Amendment Rights than it ever was about public safety,” Gottlieb said in a statement to the press. “Even the American Civil Liberties union opposed Obama’s overreaching restriction.”
Gottlieb noted that gun owners had been among the regulation’s harshest critics, adding, “And I’m one of them.”
“There are far better ways to deal with people who have mental disabilities than to stigmatize them by lumping their names in with criminals,” he observed. “President Trump’s signature on this measure will be one more step toward making the Second Amendment great again.”
Over the past two years, Gottlieb has become a champion of suicide prevention legislation in Washington State. He helped spearhead an effort last year to create a “Safer Homes” task force that is involved in bringing gun shop owners and range operators with mental health experts and pharmacists. The Evergreen State has one of the highest suicide rates in the country, with about 80 percent of the gun-related deaths each year attributed to suicide.
Currently the state House Judiciary Committee is considering a bill that would loosen background check restrictions in order to make it easier for friends or relatives to take temporary possession of firearms to prevent suicide.