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WPRI - Cicilline: Gun Background System Needs to be Fixed

News Article

Location: Providence, RI

By Courtney Caligiuri

The issue of gun control and mental health has taken center stage once again. While the alleged Navy Yard shooter, Aaron Alexis, was being treated by the Veterans Administration since August, he was never declared mentally ill by a judge or the Navy.

U.S. Representative David Cicilline says it's the broken background system that needs to be fixed.

"I hope it will mark a turning point in the debate over common sense gun safety laws," Cicilline said.

But, after the federal push to overhaul gun laws when 20 children were murdered in Newtown, Connecticut, went no where, Rep. Cicilline said he's had enough.

"It's a disgrace that congress hasn't enacted gun safety legislation, and the powerful special interests in Washington, the NRA, who are fighting against any responsible gun safety legislation have won so far."

Rep. Cicilline is a sponsor of several bills to reduce gun violence, especially on mental health.

"There's a big gap in services to individuals because of mental health issues and the ability of states to identify individuals who ought not be able to purchase a firearm because of a dangerous mental health condition."

He wants to see a system in place where information from states on individuals are shared across the country to ensure those who are mentally ill cannot get their hands on a gun.

While he understands not everyone agrees on what the Second Amendment provides, "but hopefully everybody agrees that the second amendment does not allow people who are dangerous as a result of a serious mental illness to have the right to walk into a gun store and buy a gun."

Rep. Cicilline will be pushing for several common sense gun safety bills, including one that would incentivize states to make sure they are providing the mental health status of gun purchase applicants.

While Cicilline admits these bills won't completely get rid of gun violence, he said it may help reduce the number of lost loved ones.

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