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

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy 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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid