News / USA

Lawmakers Push Bills on Mental Illness, Guns

US Lawmakers Push Bills on Mental Illness, Gun Violencei
X
June 06, 2014 5:00 AM
The mass killing in Santa Barbara, California that left six people dead has reignited a debate in the U.S. Congress about how to keep guns out of the hands of the seriously mentally ill. Since efforts to regulate gun sales have faltered, some lawmakers are pushing to reform the mental health care system to focus more on those who are severely ill. VOA Congressional Correspondent Cindy Saine reports from Capitol Hill.

VIDEO: California's recent mass killing reignites congressional debate about how to keep guns away from the mentally ill. VOA Congressional Correspondent Cindy Saine reports from Capitol Hill.

Cindy Saine
The mass killing in Santa Barbara, California that left six people dead has reignited a debate in the U.S. Congress about how to keep guns out of the hands of the seriously mentally ill. Since efforts to regulate gun sales have faltered, some lawmakers are pushing to reform the mental health care system to focus more on those who are severely ill.
 
Elliot Rodger is believed to have posted video of himself on YouTube before the campus killings in Santa Barbara. His parents warned police about the potential threat posed by his mental illness.
 
At a forum on Capitol Hill, Representative Tim Murphy pointed out that before Santa Barbara, there were mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and in Tucson, Arizona. Murphy said all the alleged killers had one thing in common.
 
"All had untreated or under-treated serious mental illness. All spiraled out of control within a system that lacked the basic mechanisms to help," said Murphy.
 
Murphy has introduced legislation that would make it easier for families to have seriously ill relatives hospitalized against their will, if they are determined to be a threat to themselves or the community. 
 
Edward Kelley, the father of a severely mentally ill boy who refuses help and often has ended up living on the streets, said he supports the bill.
 
“I want to tell him that I love him, and I am doing this for him, said Kelley. "Our resume as a family covers 15 years of dealing with our son descending into a madness that is just impossible to describe."
 
Most experts agree there are too few beds in mental hospitals, and that the seriously ill often end up in crowded emergency rooms or homeless. D.J. Jaffe of the Mental Illness Policy Org said the U.S. also needs to change its spending priorities.
 
"My one message is we have to stop ignoring the most seriously ill. We can't go on pretending that they don't exist," said Jaffe.
 
Democratic lawmakers are proposing a separate bill that would ban people who have been involuntarily hospitalized from buying guns.
 
"It is a bill that is laser focused on gun violence and mental health," said Representative Mike Thompson.
 
Former Representative Gabrielle Giffords survived a 2011 mass shooting in her Arizona district where she was shot in the head by a gunman with severe mental illness. She has become a powerful advocate.
 
“We must do something.  It will be hard, but the time is now. You must act,” said Giffords.
 
Some lawmakers say they believe Republicans and Democrats can find common ground on the issue of guns and mental illness to try to prevent future tragedies.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Urges Restraint in Hong Kong Protests

Protesters angered by Beijing's decision to only approve candidates that it sanctions for Hong Kong's leadership elections in 2017 More

Archive of Forgotten UCLA Speeches Offers Snapshot of History

Recordings of prominent voices in social change, politics, science and literature from 1960s, early 1970s now available on YouTube More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Frank Blankenship from: Gainesville, FL
June 06, 2014 11:14 AM
Nobody is going to end national violence by spending extra bucks on the mental health system. The idea is absolutely ludicrous. What you will get out of this ridiculous legislation is more and more people maimed and destroyed by mental health treatment. Luckily for us, it is meeting much resistance on Capitol Hill.


by: meanbill from: USA
June 06, 2014 10:43 AM
Deinstitutionalization? -- The Supreme Court in 1975, ruled in O'Connor v. Donaldson, that states cannot constitutionally confine a non-dangerous person who can (survive) by themselves? -- outpatient services instead, and on medication?
NOW who's to say when the mentally ill person will be violent, and needs incarceration, (with and without drugs), instead of outpatient treatment, or medication? -- Living on the streets homeless, is allowed by the Supreme Court... (Another waste of Congress, isn't it?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenyai
X
Gabe Joselow
September 29, 2014 6:20 PM
Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Video

Video Reconstruction? What Reconstruction? Life After War in Gaza

It’s been a month since Israel and the Palestinians agreed to a ceasefire to end 52 days of an air and tank war that left 60,000 homes in Gaza damaged or destroyed and 110,000 homeless. Sharon Behn reports that lack of reconstruction is leading to despair.
Video

Video US, Saudi Arabia and UAE Hit Islamic State's Oil Revenue

The United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have bombed oil facilities operated by Islamic State militants in Syria. It was a truly collaborative effort, with the two Arab countries dropping the majority of the bombs. The 12 refineries targeted were estimated to generate as much as $2 million per day for the terrorist group. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb has the story.
Video

Video Russia's Food Sanctions Raise Price Worries, Hopes for Domestic Production

Russia retaliated against Western sanctions imposed for its actions in Ukraine by halting food imports from the West. The temporary import ban on food from Australia, the European Union, Norway and North America has Russian consumers concerned that they could face a sharp increase in food prices. But in an ironic twist, the restrictions aimed at the Kremlin have made Russia's domestic food producers hopeful this can boost their business. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid