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Senate votes to repeal Obama rule blocking the mentally ill from buying guns

On Wednesday, the Senate voted 57-43 to block a rule preventing people with mental disorders from buying guns. The rule was crafted under the Obama administration after 26 were killed by a mentally-impaired man at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut in 2012. The rule requires the Social Security Administration to report to the FBI background check database people who both receive disability benefits and have a third-party managing their benefits, as a measure of determining who is ineligible to purchase firearms.

The National Rifle Association and advocacy groups for the disabled argue the rule infringed on the rights of the disabled to bear arms. Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley (Iowa), who led the fight for a repeal, said the mental disorders covered under the rule, which he claimed included eating and sleep disorders, were "vague characteristics that do not fit into the federal mentally defective standard." "If a specific individual is likely to be violent due to the nature of their mental illness, then the government should have to prove it," Grassley said.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) pointed out that anyone who takes issue with the rule can appeal and stands a good chance of winning, and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) argued the rule's standards were not unreasonable. "If you can't manage your own financial affairs, how can we expect that you're going to be a responsible steward of a dangerous, lethal firearm," Murphy said.

The measure now moves to President Trump, who is expected to sign the reversal into law.