In the wake of the latest three mass shootings in recent weeks in Gilroy, California, El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, I implore my Congresswoman Elise Stefanik to use her voice and the power of her position to be a leader in Congress and vote to pass legislation (H.R. 1296) the Assault Weapons Ban of 2019. In response to my calls this week to her office concerning gun violence, I received a letter from the congresswoman which, in part, says “Gun violence is a mental health issue, and it is vital that our mental health care system provides necessary services to keep Americans safe.” This opinion puts her at odds with NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) and the American Psychiatric Association, which works to dispel the myth that gun violence and mental health are closely linked. The overwhelming majority of people in this country who have mental illnesses do not commit mass shootings. To use mental illness as a scapegoat for inability to take legislative action on gun violence is reprehensible. Congresswoman Stefanik, as my representative, I respectfully ask you to pass H.R. 1296 quickly and without hesitation.
Linda Salzer, Cambridge