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US gun lobby cheers after Trump nixes rule, allows mentally ill to buy arms

US President Donald Trump has signed a measure nixing a regulation aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of some mentally challenged people.

world Updated: Mar 01, 2017 19:47 IST
US gun lobby
A rifle dipped in an American flag coating is seen at a National Rifle Association outdoor sports trade show in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.(AFP File Photo)

US President Donald Trump has signed a measure nixing a regulation aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of some mentally challenged people.

The regulation, which was repealed on Tuesday, was part of a series of efforts taken by the Obama administration to try and curb gun violence after other efforts failed to advance in the US Congress, CNN reported.

The ban was promoted by former president Barack 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.

US President Trump addresses the joint session of Congress. (Reuters Photo)

Tuesday’s decision was cheered by the National Rifle Association (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 overreach that characterized the Obama era,” Chris W Cox, executive director of the NRA, said last week when he heard about the Senate’s decision.

Everytown For Gun Safety president John Feinblatt said he expected more gun control rollbacks from the Trump administration. In a statement to NBC News, he called the action “just the first item on the gun lobby’s wish list” and accused the National Rifle Association of “pushing more guns, for more people, in more places”.

Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, where the Newtown massacre occurred, indignantly pointed out that the repealed regulation only affected a small number of people.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