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Everytown Responds to Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on Mental Health Bill with Dangerous Gun Provisions

Mental Health Reform Bill Includes Poison Pills That Allow People Suffering with Dangerous Mental Illness to Buy Guns

Everytown Applauds Senators Schumer and Blumenthal for Challenging these Dangerous Provisions

WASHINGTON— Following today’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on mental health reform, which included discussion of S. 2002, the “Mental Health and Safe Communities Act of 2015”, Everytown for Gun Safety released the statement below from Legal Director Liz Avore detailing how this bill undermines public safety by making it easy for people with dangerous mental illness to buy guns. Everytown’s analysis of the dangerous provisions of S.2002 is available here.

STATEMENT FROM LIZ AVORE, LEGAL DIRECTOR, EVERYTOWN FOR GUN SAFETY:

“We applaud Senators Schumer and Senator Blumenthal for challenging the dangerous provisions in S. 2002. This dangerous bill would invalidate hundreds of thousands of mental health records already in the background check system, allowing many people who have been involuntarily committed due to dangerous mental illness to buy a gun immediately after release from a psychiatric hospital. The bill would also throw out all Veterans Affairs records of beneficiaries who suffer from dangerous mental illness from the background check system, enabling those at risk of suicide to legally buy guns.

“By removing existing safety measures, this bill ultimately undermines the best tool we have to reduce gun violence: background checks. That is why these dangerous provisions in S.2002 should be deal breakers for any bipartisan consensus on mental health reform. We applaud the Judiciary Committee members who stood up today and refused to sacrifice public safety under the guise of mental health reform.”

In the written testimony submitted by professors Jeffrey Swanson, Marvin Swartz, Richard Bonnie, and Paul Appelbaum, these important public health professionals highlight that this bill’s ‘significant changes to longstanding firearms restrictions affecting certain people with mental illness could actually harm the very people that the bill intends to help.’