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

Hezbollah Chief Says Does Not Want War But Ready for One

VOA's Jerusalem correspondent reports that with an Israeli election looming and Hezbollah's involvement in Syria, neither side appears interested in a wider conflict More

Multimedia VOA SPECIAL REPORT: Despite Danger, Best US Minds Battle Deadly Virus

Scientists at America's premier biological research center race in military confinement to find effective drugs, speedier tests and a safe vaccine amid the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history More

Kurdish Poet Battles to Defend Language, Culture

Kawa Nemir's work is an example of what he sees as an irreversible cultural and political assertiveness among Kurds in Turkey 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.
Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unresti
X
Heather Murdock
January 30, 2015 8:00 PM
Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Mobile Infrared Scanners May Help Homeowners Save Energy

Mobile photo scanners have been successfully employed for navigational purposes, such as Google Maps. Now, a group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says the same technology could help homeowners better insulate their houses and save some money. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid