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Shooting spree renews mental health, firearms debates

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Shooting spree renews mental health, firearms debates

Friday's shootings spur California lawmakers to look at "gun violence restraining orders" to enable a subject's family or friends to petition a judge to grant orders prohibiting someone from keeping or purchasing a gun. They also focus attention on competing plans in Congress to help people plagued by mental illness.

USA Today: Shooting Spree Inspires Call For Mental Health Overhaul
Friday's stabbing and shooting spree in Santa Barbara, Calif., has renewed the debate over how and whether to require people with serious mental illness to get psychiatric care. Many families and advocates for people with serious mental illness say the country needs to change its standard for civil commitment, which allows people to be hospitalized against their will (Szabo, 5/27).

Los Angeles Times: Mass Killings Prompt Lawmakers To Propose New Firearms Bill 
The new firearms bill would create a "gun violence restraining order," using the same process employed for restraining orders in cases of domestic violence. If notified by a subject's family or friends that someone could harm himself or others, law enforcement officers would be able to petition a judge to grant a restraining order that could prohibit possession or purchase of a gun. ... Sam Paredes, executive director of the Gun Owners of California, called the proposal (AB 1014) offered by multiple lawmakers ..., a "knee-jerk reaction." California already has a system to prevent mentally ill people from obtaining weapons, he noted: an involuntary psychiatric detention known as a "5150" (McGreevy and Mason, 5/27).

The Boston Globe: DeLeo Pushes Tighter Gun Law 
House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo unveiled a proposal Tuesday for the most comprehensive changes to Massachusetts gun laws in 16 years, saying that the state cannot wait for federal action to curb gun violence. Under the bill, local police would be given expanded discretion to consider a person’s “suitability” to own a gun, the state would join a national database for criminal and mental-health background checks, and all private sales of firearms would be conducted in the presence of a licensed dealer (MacQuarrie, 5/28).

The Associated Press:  Isla Vista Rampage Adds Urgency For Mental Illness Laws
The killings of six people near UC Santa Barbara by an apparently deranged young man have focused attention on competing Democratic and Republican plans in Congress to improve government's ability to help people plagued by mental illness before they become front-page news. "Once again, our mental health system has failed and more families have been destroyed because Washington hasn't had the courage to fix it," Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., a clinical psychologist and author of one of the bills, said hours after news of the killings in Isla Vista broke. "How many more people must lose their lives before we take action on addressing cases of serious mental illness?” (Freedman, 5/27).

The Sacramento Bee: California Democrats Call For Gun Restrictions After Isla Vista Killings 
On their first day back in the Capitol since the killing Friday night of six college students near UC Santa Barbara, Democrats in the California Legislature on Tuesday said the state should do more to keep mentally ill people from obtaining guns. Democratic Assembly members Das Williams of Santa Barbara and Nancy Skinner of Berkeley announced they will introduce a bill that would allow concerned family members or friends to notify authorities when a loved one is at risk of committing violence (Rosenhall, 5/27).

Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent news service. It is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health-care-policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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