Bill Barry: Focusing on mental illness is a practical gun control measure
Fundamentally, gun violence stems from the most dangerous people in America having easy access to guns, a small number of whom are capable of horrendous acts due to severe mental illness. We know that federal law seeks to prevent those who have been adjudicated by the courts from passing a background check. This happens through a process that includes courts, judges and due process. It’s a high bar because we need to strike a balance that is careful not to stigmatize the vast majority of Americans living with mental illness who pose no threat to public safety.
A bill making its way through the Legislature, co-sponsored by Manchester Rep. Jeff Goley, a firefighter and fellow gun owner, could change that. Senate Bill 244 would require the state to submit a list of names of people who already cannot possess a gun under this federal law to the NICS instant background check system. This is an extremely balanced approach to preventing gun violence. It protects the Second Amendment rights of our law-abiding citizens who have obtained their firearms through legal means.
In July, I was proud to join fellow members of law enforcement from throughout the state, along with former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and her husband, Captain Mark Kelly, to call on our elected leaders to work hard to find common sense solutions to preventing gun violence.
In my career, I’ve apprehended more than 1,500 criminals, and I’ve seen the devastating effects of gun violence — so much of it painfully preventable.
All it does is keep us all safer.
I hope our legislative leaders will take action and join us in the work we do to keep our communities safer by voting for common-sense solutions, like SB 244.
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