President Donald Trump has just made it easier for people with mental illnesses to purchase firearms.
On Tuesday, Trump signed H.J. Res 40 into law. The legislation revokes an Obama-era regulation which added anyone receiving Social Security benefits for mental health issues or using a designated beneficiary to handle their financial affairs to the national background check database.
If it had taken full effect, the Obama administration estimated that the order would have added roughly 75,000 names to the database, according to NBC News. It would have included individuals living with everything from ADHD to schizophrenia and would have applied to everyone from age 18 to the full retirement age.
While former President Barack Obama began preparing the order in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, the policy wasn’t finalized until this past December, thanks in part to fierce opposition from gun rights advocates.
“[The order was] 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,” Republican House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte told USA Today. “It assumes that simply because an individual suffers from a mental condition, that individual is unfit to exercise his or her Second Amendment rights.”
Many gun control advocates applauded Obama’s policy, however, saying it helped keep guns out of potentially dangerous hands.
“These are not just people having a bad day,” said Rep. Mike Thompson, a Democrat from California, to USA Today. “These are not people simply suffering from depression or anxiety. These are people with a severe mental illness who can’t hold any kind of job or make any decisions about their affairs. So the law says very clearly they shouldn’t have a firearm.”
The National Rifle Association lauded Trump’s decision to sign the bill into law, with NRA-ILA executive director Chris Cox telling NBC News that Trump “marks a new era for law-abiding gun owners, as we now have a president who respects and supports our arms.”
Trump did not publicize signing the bill into law like he has with other measures. NBC News reports his communications office snuck the announcement of the bill’s signing into the bottom of an email telling the press about other legislation the president had signed.