The March 2 Post-Gazette featured an editorial (“After Newtown”) that lauds U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy’s legislative initiative, HR 3717 — Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2013 — for dealing with mental health issues in the wake of the Newtown disaster. This is a step in the right direction but woefully inadequate to stem the tide of deaths due to gun violence.
Since Newtown, more than 9,000 deaths have occurred due to gun violence, some of which could be related to mental illness. Can the mental health community be expected to identify and control those mentally challenged people who are destined to be killers? In my opinion, not for quite a while, but controlling access to deadly weapons would have an immediate impact.
Also, shooters are not necessarily mentally challenged but have access to weapons at the very wrong time. The cases of two deaths were widely reported recently because the perpetrator was angry at the time and had a readily available weapon — the issues: loud music and popcorn. I suspect these shooters now wish they could take back those deadly bullets.
Mr. Murphy must consider legislation dealing with controlling access to firearms, which would benefit everyone, including the mentally challenged. Mr. Murphy, however, is highly regarded by the National Rifle Association for his anti-gun control positions, and his legislative record affirms their opinion. So gun control legislation from him or supported by him should not be expected in the near future.
Unless realistic gun control measures are enacted we can expect the tragedy of deaths due to gun violence to continue unabated, regardless of current and future mental health legislation.
Upper St. Clair