Washington, DC—The Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence—the 501(c)(3) affiliate of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence—applauds the Promoting Healthy Minds for Safer Communities Act, introduced by Rep. Mike Thompson (D–CA). As introduced, the bill is centered around an evidence-based strategy for decreasing gun violence by reducing access to firearms by individuals who have engaged in dangerous conduct rather than focusing on histories on mental illness.
The bill is modeled on many of the recommendations proposed by the Consortium for Risk-Based Firearm Policy, a group of mental health and public health experts convened by the Educational Fund to study the intersection of guns, public health and mental illness. The consortium believes that this legislation is an important step forward because it will decrease both gun violence and suicide while still respecting the rights of individuals suffering from mental disorders.
Consortium member Richard Bonnie, director of the University of Virginia’s Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy, who has served as an adviser to the American Psychiatric Association Council on Psychiatry and Law since 1979, said, “This bill embraces a number of innovative approaches for temporarily removing firearms when people are at elevated risk of violence to themselves or others. One of its groundbreaking provisions would provide federal support for states to develop restraining orders to enable police to remove firearms based on a clearly defined set of criteria supported by the evidence, including past acts of violence and history of substance abuse.”
Josh Horwitz, executive director of Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, added, “We would like to thank Mr. Thompson for introducing the Promoting Healthy Minds for Safer Communities Act. This bill balances the need for improved treatment and crisis interventions for individuals suffering from mental disorders with an evidence-based approach. This legislation will save lives and make our communities safer.”
The consortium released a report late last year detailing evidence-based federal policy recommendations. The report, Guns, Public Health and Mental Illness: An Evidence-Based Approach for Federal Policy, along with a report outlining recommendations for state policy, can be found online at www.efsgv2018.wpengine.com.
The Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence (Ed Fund) is the 501(c)(3) sister organization of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. The organization has engaged in a number of successful public education campaigns over the years aimed at reducing gun death and injury. The Ed Fund can be found on Twitter.