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NRA pressures Democrats for vote to block mentally ill from guns

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Politics,Health,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Gun Control,Democratic Party,National Rifle Association

The National Rifle Association on Monday moved to outflank President Obama's renewed campaign for comprehensive gun control legislation by putting the focus on blocking the mentally ill--like the Newtown, Conn., and Aurora, Colo. killers--from getting guns.

In a $55,000 print advertising campaign, the NRA is urging the White House and Senate to reform the mental health system to prevent future mass shootings.

"Why is mental health reform being held hostage?" reads the NRA ad. The letters making up the words "being held hostage," appear like they've been cut from different magazines to give the ad the feel of a hostage note.

The administration, led by Vice President Joe Biden, have said that it wants another gun control vote in the Senate, where an earlier version failed. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is helping that cause with a campaign against senators who didn't support the earlier vote.

But the NRA said the Senate should vote now on preventing the mentally ill from getting guns instead of pushing for unlikely passage of a broader bill.

"There is no legitimate reason why the President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are holding mental health reform hostage to their failed gun control agenda. If they were serious about preventing the next Newtown, Aurora or Tucson, they would pass bipartisan mental health reform right now," NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam told Secrets.

In the ad, the pro-Second Amendment rights group said: "Both parties agree that we need to reform our broken mental health system to prevent mass shootings. Ninety-five Senators have voted for meaningful mental health reform. But President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Reid are holding it hostage to their divisive and failed gun control agenda. It's time for the White House and Senate to end gridlock and move forward on mental health reform."

The ad concludes, "Tell the White House and the Senate: Stop attacking law-abiding gun owners and start reforming our broken mental health system."

Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.