Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich on Tuesday called for Congressional hearings to examine mental health issues “before we go rushing off on a whole new set of rules” in trying to reform the nation’s gun laws.
“As a result of the deinstitutionalization of mental health over the last 30 years, there are a significant, small group of people who are on the streets who clearly would have been judged dangerous 20 or 25 years ago," Gingrich told the Congressional Health Caucus at the Capitol, ABC News reports
“When you talk mass murders — that we've seen with Newtown and others, Virginia Tech, for example or Aurora — I think that's a limited enough number of cases,” he added. “You could actually put together a study that asks what are the common behaviors, what are the common patterns, because that's a very specific number of people.”
Gingrich said Congress would do better in responding to “the larger question of violence” by holding hearings in Chicago, which has some of the nation’s toughest gun laws.
The city clocked 500 homicides last year.
“Virtually every gun being used in Illinois is illegal,” Gingrich said, ABC reports. “More regulations for the honest and law-abiding, but not for criminals, are in fact destructive.”
The caucus co-chairman, Georgia GOP Rep. Tom Price, M.D., said Congress lacked sufficient data in order to recommend appropriate mental health action in cases involving mass shooters.
“You have to get the information," Price said, according to ABC. “As physicians, you've got to make the correct diagnosis of the patient before you can actually treat the patient.
“I don't think we have a correct diagnosis about the challenges that are out there for individuals with mental illness who can potentially become a harm to society.
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