Headlines from the Hill: Gun Violence: Will the 113th Congress Take Action?

Article excerpt

THE SCHOOL SHOOTING at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, once again highlighted the need to address longstanding concerns associated with gun violence and access to mental-health services. This horrific event was a tipping point and serves as a call to action. A coalition of the nation's nursing organizations has called upon political and community leaders across the country to address ongoing societal needs to help curb the endless cycle of senseless violence.

Our country has witnessed unspeakable acts of mass shootings. The common thread in each of these tragedies has been the lethal combination of easy access to guns and inadequate access to mental-health services.

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Following the tragedy in Newtown, ANA's call to action was endorsed by a diverse coalition of almost 50 ANA constituent and state nurses associations and national and other nursing organizations. The call to action was shared with the White House and congressional, state, and city leaders. (To read the call to action, go to www.nursingworld .org/Federal-Issues/Reducing-Gun-Violence.pdf.)

After the Connecticut shootings, the White House created a task force led by Vice President Joe Biden, who reached out to many groups (including ANA) to formulate a plan to address this complex issue. For those who may not be aware, ANA has established policy in this area. In the 1990s, ANA's House of Delegates approved position statements on the topic, including "Curbing the Public Health Epidemic of Handgun Violence in the U.S.," "Publicize Resources to Address Gun Violence By and Against Children," and "Gun Control and Background Checks."

In addition, ANA's past legislative and regulatory documents related to gun violence and mental-health services include statements that indicate ANA supports coverage of inpatient and outpatient mental-health services as a standard benefit and parity for mental-health and physical services, as well as efforts that address mental-health outcome research and service evaluation. …

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