Rep. Ron Barber: ‘I think we have to stop talking about doing something and actually do something’

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Rep. Ron Barber has this guest opinion in the Arizona Daily Star today, previously published in the Arizona Republic. Guest Column: Mental health awareness, limits on gun access are key to solutions.

The Arizona Daily Star also published this report today Momentum seen in Congress under the headline:

BARBER, GRIJALVA BACK ACTION ON GUNS

Momentum seen in Congress

Both say they support ban on assault-rifle sales, urge steps on
mental-health care

The massacre of 20 young children in Connecticut is moving Congress toward action to prevent the next mass shooting.

That's the view of Tucson's two congressmen, Democrats Raúl Grijalva
and Ron Barber, who said Monday they support banning the sale of
so-called "assault rifles" as well as high-capacity magazines.

They also called for action to help address mental illness.

"I
think we have to stop talking about doing something and actually do
something," said Barber, who was wounded in the mass shooting in Tucson
on Jan. 8, 2011.

Grijalva called for moving beyond the "national
dialogue" on guns in society that ramped up after the shootings in
Tucson and continued through slaughters in Wisconsin, Colorado and
Oregon this year.

"We have been cowed by (gun-rights) absolutists
for too long," Grijalva said in a written statement. "When we accept
eight or nine thousand gun murders a year as the price of what some
people think of as freedom, we have gone too far."

* * *

Grijalva and Barber say especially deadly weapons and components such
as the ones used in Newtown, Conn., and in Tucson must be taken off the
market, even though millions of the guns and magazines are already in
private hands.

"What happens to that aging stockpile? I think that attrition takes care of that itself," Grijalva said.

Each
mass shooting has multiple causes, Barber said, but two of the most
common causes have been mental illness and access to high-powered
weapons. He said he will re-introduce next session a bill intended to
spread a program started in Southern Arizona providing "mental heath
first aid."

The idea is to train people to recognize the signs of
mental illness and teach them about the procedures and resources in the
area where they live.

He and Grijalva also called for an end to funding cuts for mental-health care in Arizona and nationwide.

"We
can't wait for another tragedy to deal with this," Barber said. "I
don't want this to happen in any other school, with any other children."

The editors of the Arizona Daily Star have published two excellent editorial opinions recently. On Sunday, We can no longer justify failure to enact gun control, and today, Now is the time for action on some gun limits.

And then there is this . . . Brewer 'not sure' gun laws need revisiting. Sigh.

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