The Orlando massacre has bolstered Democrats’ resolve to use amental health bill movingthrough the U.S. House of Representatives to advance guncontrol.

|

The mass shooting, the most deadly in American history, has beenhighly politicized for a number of reasons, but the shooter'smental capacity and ability to purchase high-grade weapons hastaken much of the spotlight as politicians and community leadersweigh in on how to prevent such attacks.

|

A Democratic aide told The Hill that members of theminority party will offer gun-related amendments to legislationscheduled to be taken up soon by the House Energy and CommerceCommittee.

|

Related: Better mental health is good for globaleconomy

|

Not all the planned amendments are yet public, but Rep. TonyCardenas, D-CA, has said he plans to offer one to lift what manyhave described as a ban on federal research into gun violence.

|

In fact, what Cardenas’ amendment is targeting is a provisionthat was attached to a 1996 appropriations bill by Republicans atthe behest of the National Rifle Association, which was unhappywith research by the Centers for Disease Control that found thatgun ownership increased risk of injury. But the provision onlyforbade the CDC from using federal funds to “advocate or promotegun control.” Since the law was passed however, the CDC hasgenerally steered clear of gun-related research.

|

Obviously, it is unlikely that any gun-related measures putforward by Democrats will get any support from the majority party.And even some Democrats seem uninterested in pursuing the gundebate, for fear that it might derail one of the few examples ofmeaningful bipartisan legislation in recent years.

|

Related: Mental health takes back seat in most healthplans

|

To gain Democratic support for the bill, Rep. Tim Murphy, R-PA,sacrificed a provision of the original legislation that would havegiven caregivers greater access to the medical records of thosegetting drug treatment. Some argued the provision endangeredpatient privacy.

|

The bill will establish an assistant secretary of the Departmentof Health and Human Services focused on mental health. That personwill lead a new office within the agency that will lead researchand psychological treatment programs.

|

Murphy rejected calls for guns to enter the discussion over hismental health legislation.

|

“This is a disease, mental illness,” Murphy told TheHill. “I don't want to see us taint it or demean it to say,‘Let's just talk about an object.’ That takes away from theimportance and the meaningfulness of what people aresuffering.”

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to BenefitsPRO, part of your ALM digital membership.

  • Critical BenefitsPRO information including cutting edge post-reform success strategies, access to educational webcasts and videos, resources from industry leaders, and informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM, BenefitsPRO magazine and BenefitsPRO.com events
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including ThinkAdvisor.com and Law.com
NOT FOR REPRINT

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.