Senate gun bill a good first step, says APA president

Washington — Following is a statement by Frank C. Worrell, PhD, president of the American Psychological Association, in response to the Senate bill aimed at restricting access to firearms:

“The American Psychological Association commends the Senate taking a first step toward addressing our nation’s public health crisis of gun violence with the introduction of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. This bill would make critical investments in local initiatives such as extreme risk protection order laws and crisis intervention programs. It would also reinforce firearms bans for domestic abusers and enhance the federal background check system for individuals under age 21 who attempt to purchase firearms.

“Although APA appreciates the measure’s focus on increasing access to mental health services and supports by expanding Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics and school-based health programs under Medicaid, we must not conflate mental illness with gun violence. Both are critical and deserve the attention this bill would provide, but we ask again that policymakers avoid inaccurate rhetoric that blames gun violence on mental illness. We look forward to working with Congress to pass this much-needed bill.”

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