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story.lead_photo.caption U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., is shown on Capitol Hill in this file photo.

ROGERS -- U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton told a group of law enforcement officers Monday that Congress can cooperate to pass legislation aimed at keeping firearms out of the hands of the mentally ill.

"I hope we can agree that we need better mental health procedures and policies in this country," Cotton, R-Ark., said at the Arkansas Sheriff's Association meeting.

He called for Congress to make it easier for law enforcement and others to go to a judge and present evidence from family members or neighbors that a young person shouldn't have access to firearms.

"Many states have done that as well. I think we should take a look at that," he said.

Cotton was speaking after mass shootings this weekend in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, that killed at least 31. A shooter killed 22 people at a Walmart in El Paso, and another nine died in Dayton.

"These shootings are terrible atrocities," Cotton said.

Cotton praised law enforcement for its response in Dayton. It could have been much worse if it hadn't been for the bravery and skill of law enforcement officers, he said.

"One common thread in these shootings, not only in the United States but in other countries, is young, angry and alienated young men, often times with mental health problems," he said.

If family members, teachers, preachers or coaches see problems -- especially in a young person -- then they can go to law enforcement to try to keep guns out their hands, he said.

Joshua Mahony, who has announced plans to challenge Cotton next year for his Senate seat, said he likes Cotton's approach to try to prevent the mentally ill from getting a firearm. Mahony said he wants to hear more information on how it can be accomplished.

Congress has proven unable to pass substantial gun violence legislation this session, in large part because of resistance from Republicans, particularly in the GOP-controlled Senate.

After other mass shootings, President Donald Trump called for strengthening the federal background check system, and in 2018 he signed legislation to increase federal agency data sharing. But he has resisted Democratic calls to toughen other gun control laws.

Cotton said Congress will have to address the mental health issue and immigration when it reconvenes after the August recess. There is still a crisis at the border, he said.

Cotton said he wanted to speak at the sheriff's association meeting to honor Mike Stephens, who was killed last month in the line of duty. Stephens, a Stone County sheriff's deputy, was shot after responding to a domestic call.

Information for this report was provided by staff members of The Associated Press.

Metro on 08/06/2019

Print Headline: U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton supports law to keep mentally ill from acquiring guns


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Archived Comments

  • JakeTidmore
    August 6, 2019 at 5:03 a.m.

    Evidence doesn't support putting the blame on mental health issues:
    htt ps://ww m/en-us/health/mentalhealth/politicians-keep-blaming-mass-shootings-on-mental-health-issues-doctors-say-theyre-wrong/ar-AAFnp8a?ocid=spartandhp
    . Studies show that a relatively small percentage of violent crimes are perpetuated by people with diagnosed mental health issues, and that gun access—not mental health symptoms—is the primary predictor of firearm violence. As a result, an increasingly large and vocal cadre of doctors has been arguing for years that gun violence is more an issue of access and regulation than it is mental health. Groups including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medication Association are active in advocating for stronger gun laws and more widespread violence-prevention programs, and the American Psychological Association regularly cautions against blaming mass shootings on mental health.
    “Routinely blaming mass shootings on mental illness is unfounded and stigmatizing,” read a statement the APA issued on Aug. 4, after the Dayton tragedy. “The rates of mental illness are roughly the same around the world, yet other countries are not experiencing these traumatic events as often as we face them. One critical factor is access to, and the lethality of, the weapons that are being used in these crimes. Adding racism, intolerance and bigotry to the mix is a recipe for disaster.”
    Mental health and video games are NOT where the problem lies. And blaming them is just another lie Republicans use to avoid taking responsibility to deal with the issue of guns in our country.
    Now pathological lying is a mental health problem.
    htt ps://ww w.goodencenter.or g/mental-health-pathological-liar/
    Whenever someone lies it can be hurtful and damaging to a relationship, causing problems with trust and accountability. People can lie to hide their behavior or pursue activities that they feel they might be judged for. However, some people may compulsively lie to others as a habitual problem and will do so without any discernible reason or motive.
    Compulsive or pathological lying is usually indicative of some type of mental health condition or a symptom of a personality disorder such as borderline or narcissistic disorder. When someone compulsively lies and cannot control their lying habits it is usually not due to a moral failing on their part but a real mental health problem that they may not be aware of.

  • RBear
    August 6, 2019 at 6:36 a.m.

    moz maybe because Republican held legislatures overrule local control regarding gun control. Maybe because conservative courts have struck down some gun control legislation. Maybe because a Republican president has promoted more guns instead of more control. According to the FBI's Unified Crime Reporting data, the top three cities with regards to violent crime are in the South, the top two being in AL. So, I think your attempt to characterize this as a Democrat issue is misguided and lacking in real information. You're commenting on right wing headlines again.

  • JakeTidmore
    August 6, 2019 at 6:50 a.m.

    Ozarka bin Lying loves to attack American cities who he believes are strongly biased towards liberals and Democrats. It's called domestic terrorism and it's the coward's way of trying to hurt America.

    August 6, 2019 at 6:59 a.m.

    This part is correct and aren't necessarily connected to mental health: "He called for Congress to make it easier for law enforcement and others to go to a judge and present evidence from family members or neighbors that a young person shouldn't have access to firearms." The Red Flag laws that some states now have makes it possible to intervene IF someone will say something. In almost every case of 'mass' killings (guns and other weapons) there has been plenty of info available either online or from family/friends/schools/law enforcement - but nothing was done until afterwards.
    From the USSS Threat Assessment Center's Report on Mass Attacks in Public Spaces:
    • Most of the attackers utilized firearms, and half departed the site on their own or committed suicide.
    • Half were motivated by a grievance related to a domestic situation, workplace, or other personal issue.
    • Two-thirds had histories of mental health symptoms, including depressive, suicidal, and psychotic symptoms.
    • Nearly all had at least one significant stressor within the last five years, and over half had indications of financial instability in that timeframe.
    • Nearly all made threatening or concerning communications and more than three-quarters elicited concern from others prior to carrying out their attacks.

  • wolfman
    August 6, 2019 at 7:07 a.m.

    repubs never ever want to recognize the real truth in anything. always in denial.

  • PopMom
    August 6, 2019 at 7:12 a.m.

    While all shooters obviously have some form of mental illness, not all of the shootings are the same. I am concerned about the rising number of incidents caused by white supremacy. At the same time, I acknowledge that the Sandy Hook shooting was caused by a combination of mental illness and addiction to video game violence. Both violent video games and racist rhetoric seek to dehumanize the victims. Playing violent video games desensitizes one to killing. Racist rhetoric seeks to dehumanize those who are different by referring to them in nonhuman or dangerous terms: infestation, invasion, drug dealers, criminals etc. etc. Many of those who post here show a lack of empathy for other human beings who are different. Those who kill lack empathy for others. This devaluation of the lives of other human beings is dangerous. Whatever the cause, allowing individuals in our society to have access to weapons capable of killing many people at once just does not make sense. As a society we need to stand up to the NRA nuts who think that individuals need weapons capable of mass killing. Denying access of these weapons to people who are identified as mentally ill would not have prevented most of these tragedies. Only law enforcement should have these types of guns. Hunters do not need and should not have weapons capable of killing many people this quickly. We need to take the weapons away.

  • mozarky2
    August 6, 2019 at 7:45 a.m.

    Somewhat ironic that Baltimore got its 200th murder of the year during its “Ceasefire Weekend”...

  • RBear
    August 6, 2019 at 7:45 a.m.

    moz quit being such a partisan hack in this very critical issue. You show your ignorance with almost every comment, much like you did yesterday.

  • einnorray
    August 6, 2019 at 7:59 a.m.

    In honor of and respect for the people who lost their lives in El Paso and Dayton, can we pause for a moment with the hate and hateful rhetoric. Can we take a HATE TIMEOUT? I mean if all of our comments are to argue, slander, insult,or make light of real human problems and suffering, then we are part of the problem.

  • limb
    August 6, 2019 at 8:06 a.m.

    If I’m killed in a similar shooting I would certainly want people to push for solutions with lawmakers and enact stricter gun controls like 97% percent of the country want. It’s our reps who won’t listen.