Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Rep. Ron Barber has this guest opinion in the Arizona Daily Star today, previously published in the Arizona Republic. Guest Column: Mental health awareness, limits on gun access are key to solutions.
The Arizona Daily Star also published this report today Momentum seen in Congress under the headline:
Momentum seen in Congress
Both say they support ban on assault-rifle sales, urge steps on mental-health care
The massacre of 20 young children in Connecticut is moving Congress toward action to prevent the next mass shooting.
That's the view of Tucson's two congressmen, Democrats Raúl Grijalva and Ron Barber, who said Monday they support banning the sale of so-called "assault rifles" as well as high-capacity magazines.
They also called for action to help address mental illness.
"I think we have to stop talking about doing something and actually do something," said Barber, who was wounded in the mass shooting in Tucson on Jan. 8, 2011.
Grijalva called for moving beyond the "national dialogue" on guns in society that ramped up after the shootings in Tucson and continued through slaughters in Wisconsin, Colorado and Oregon this year.
"We have been cowed by (gun-rights) absolutists for too long," Grijalva said in a written statement. "When we accept eight or nine thousand gun murders a year as the price of what some people think of as freedom, we have gone too far."
* * *
Grijalva and Barber say especially deadly weapons and components such as the ones used in Newtown, Conn., and in Tucson must be taken off the market, even though millions of the guns and magazines are already in private hands.
"What happens to that aging stockpile? I think that attrition takes care of that itself," Grijalva said.
Each mass shooting has multiple causes, Barber said, but two of the most common causes have been mental illness and access to high-powered weapons. He said he will re-introduce next session a bill intended to spread a program started in Southern Arizona providing "mental heath first aid."
The idea is to train people to recognize the signs of mental illness and teach them about the procedures and resources in the area where they live.
He and Grijalva also called for an end to funding cuts for mental-health care in Arizona and nationwide.
"We can't wait for another tragedy to deal with this," Barber said. "I don't want this to happen in any other school, with any other children."
The editors of the Arizona Daily Star have published two excellent editorial opinions recently. On Sunday, We can no longer justify failure to enact gun control, and today, Now is the time for action on some gun limits.
And then there is this . . . Brewer 'not sure' gun laws need revisiting. Sigh.