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POLITICS: PennAve

John Boehner: Keep guns from mentally ill

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Politics,Congress,Susan Ferrechio,Gun Control,John Boehner,Texas,PennAve,Justice Department,Law,Mental Health

House Speaker John Boehner, reacting to the Fort Hood shooting, said he believes gun laws should prohibit those with mental illness from buying firearms.

“There's no question that those with mental health issues should be prevented from owning weapons or being able to purchase weapons," Boehner said Thursday at a news conference announcing an unrelated bill for military veterans. “This issue, we need to continue to look at, to find a way to keep weapons out of the hands of people who should not have them.”

Army Specialist Ivan Lopez killed himself Wednesday night after opening fire at Fort Hood in Texas. Lopez killed three and injured 16 with a gun he purchased and snuck onto the base. At the time he bought the gun, the Army was evaluating him for mental health issues.

Federal law prohibits the sale of guns to those with known mental disorders and most states, including Texas, also prohibit such sales if a person is identified as mentally ill.

In the wake of a string of mass shootings by mentally ill men, President Obama has sought tougher restrictions on gun purchases, using his executive authority to order the Justice Department to tweak regulations in order to make it harder for those who are mentally ill to buy guns by increasing reporting to state databases.

Congress has not passed major gun control legislation in decades, but recently cleared a bill, now signed into law, that provides funding for a pilot program to improve access to mental health centers.

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Susan Ferrechio

Chief Congressional Correspondent
The Washington Examiner