The president announced today that he is proposing new steps that he says will help decrease injuries and deaths related to gun violence, including new proposals to bolster access to mental health care.
President Obama, speaking to reporters at the White House this afternoon, described how his proposals would work. He was flanked by people who had lost loved ones in past shootings.
“For every family who never imagined that their loved one would be taken by a bullet from a gun, every time I think about those kids it gets me mad,” Obama said. “All of us need to stand up and protect our citizens.”
To combat gun violence, Obama is taking multiple executive actions. He wants to spend $500 million to increase access to mental health care and mental health information for conducting background checks. He called on different agencies including the Social SecurityAdministration to report more data to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) to bolster background checks.
Obama made clear that the vast majority of people with mental health issues are not violent and that they are far more likely to be victims of a violent crime.
“We must continue to remove the stigma around mental illness and its treatment and make sure that these individuals and their families know they are not alone. While individuals with mental illness are more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators, incidents of violence continue to highlight a crisis in America’s mental health system,” Obama said in a statement released Monday. “In addition to helping people get the treatment they need, we must make sure we keep guns out of the hands of those who are prohibited by law from having them.”