The NY Times declares a new direction in the gun control debate:
Mental Health Again an Issue in Gun Debate
WASHINGTON — Despite deep divisions that have kept Congress from passing new gun safety laws for almost two decades, there is one aspect of gun control on which many Democrats, Republicans and even the National Rifle Association agree: the need to give mental health providers better resources to treat dangerous people and prevent them from buying weapons.
So far, so good - treat the mentally ill and prevent them from buying weapons. But watch how one of those cards gets palmed two paragraphs later:
The new debate over gun control is beginning to turn not on weapons or ammunition, but on the question of whether to spend more money on treating and preventing mental illness.
What happened to improved reporting to prevent gun purchases by the mentally ill?
We then veer off to la-la land:
“Given the clear connection between recent mass shootings and mental illness, the Senate should not delay bipartisan legislation that would help address this issue,” Senators Kelly Ayotte, Republican of New Hampshire, and Mark Begich, Democrat of Alaska, wrote Wednesday in a joint statement to the Senate leadership. The legislation they are pushing, which was held up when a more sweeping gun measure was defeated earlier this year, would establish programs to train teachers to recognize the signs of mental illness and how to defuse potentially violent situations.
Adam Lanza of Newtown and Aaron Alexis of the Navy Yard were not disgruntled students. Jared Loughner of the Tucson shooting had been diagnosed and treated for schizophrenia, so a lack of alert teachers wasn't the issue there, either.
La-la or not, Harry Reid is holding mental health provisions hostage:
Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader and a strong proponent of the failed Senate plan to expand the federal background check system, is resisting any move to advance the mental health provisions, fearing that it would be used as a fig leaf by those who oppose expanded checks while closing the door to weapons restrictions in the future. Both Ms. Ayotte and Mr. Begich opposed the gun control bill that failed in April.
Playing politics while people die.
FWIW, New York state included expanded mental health reporting in their recent hastily-conceived post-Newton gun laws, to some controversy.
FROM THE ARCHIVES: This Dec 2012 Gallup poll (post-Newton) headlined mental health:
To Stop Shootings, Americans Focus on Police, Mental Health
Democrats substantially more likely to see assault gun ban as effective
PRINCETON, NJ -- Americans are most likely to say that an increased police presence at schools, increased government spending on mental health screening and treatment, and decreased depiction of gun violence in entertainment venues would be effective in preventing mass shootings at schools. Americans rate the potential effectiveness of a ban on assault and semi-automatic guns as fourth on a list of six actions Gallup asked about.
Mental health? The mentally ill are victims, and hence clients of the left. As to violent entertainment, Hollywood is one of their piggy banks. And we do have free speech rights, sort of like we also have gun rights, except only one of those counts with Obama.
And in this old post, Connecticut is still grappling with a mental health response to Newton. A state task force is due to report in Feb 2014.