Collins, Pingree say government should do more to prevent mentally ill from owning guns

Sen. Susan Collins in November.
J. Scott Applewhite | AP
Sen. Susan Collins in November.
Posted Dec. 20, 2012, at 8:07 a.m.
Rep. Chellie Pingree in May.
Rep. Chellie Pingree in May. Buy Photo

Two members of Maine’s Congressional delegation say more work needs to be done when it comes to gun control and mental health.

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said there’s room for improvement.

“We should examine, among other issues, whether states are reporting data on mentally ill individuals found to be a danger to themselves or others to the national background check database designed to prevent gun purchases by such individuals,” her spokesman, Kevin Kelley, said.

U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, said earlier this year that a federal court ruled that only individuals involuntarily committed to a mental health facility by a judge should be prohibited from buying guns.

Maine does share that list, Pingree said. “But there is a bigger issue at play here. The school shooting in Connecticut last week brought renewed attention to the issue of mental health in our communities,” Pingree said.

“It’s clear we are not putting the necessary resources into helping those who suffer from mental illness and that can sometimes contribute to crime and gun violence.” People suffering from mental illness need more treatment options, she said. “It’s time we stopped underfunding those services.”

Responses from U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, D-Maine, and U.S. Sen.-elect Angus King, I-Maine, were not available Wednesday.

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