U.S. senators have been working across party lines on legislation advocates say could help prevent killers like Newtown’s Adam Lanza from slipping through the cracks, the New York Times reports. the plans, which could be included in a federal gun-control bill, could lead to significant advances in treating mental illness, a problem that is a root cause of gun rampages.
“This is a place where people can come together,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). The issue serves as a political refuge for Republicans and conservative Democrats eager to offer a response to the shootings in Connecticut and Aurora, Co., but have no interest in actions that could be seen as infringing on constitutional gun rights. The emerging legislation would finance construction of community mental health centers, provide grants to train teachers to spot early signs of mental illness, and make more Medicaid dollars available for mental health care. Stabenow's measure has attracted backing from some Senate Republicans strongly backed by the National Rifle Association, including Marco Rubio of Florida and Roy Blunt of Missouri.