Thursday, January 19, 2012

Letter to State Delegate Ransone and State Senator Stuart

Governor McDonnell’s (and the Republican) agenda for 2012 is to loosen gun controls and restrictions in Virginia. There is no mention of keeping guns out of the hands of the mentally ill.

Following the Virginia Tech shooting, Virginia’s Republicans and Democrats promised they would adopt policies to make our campuses safer—emphasis was put on mental health and keeping guns from those who are dangerous to themselves and others. Governor McDonnell was Attorney General when those promises were made. He did not object; his silence was tacit approval. The promises have not been kept.

The mentally ill can still go to any gun show in Virginia and buy a weapon without a background check. Colorado closed that loophole after Columbine; Virginia should do the same.

Governor McDonnell apparently considers that sponsoring a radio jingle to raise awareness is the right response to the Peter Odighizuwa’s, Cho Seung-Hui’s, and Ross Turett Ashley’s of this world. It is not.

Virginia spends less on mental health than it did before April 16, 2007. Furthermore, McDonnell is intent on privatizing the state’s mental health program. Privatization will weaken, not strengthen mental health care. A similar privatization program in New Jersey has led to a decline in the quality of care.

Privatization may be popular with some—but it is fool’s gold. Privatization is not more efficient than the current state-run program. Virginia will lose economy of scale through privatization. There will be cuts in care to ensure profits.

With voters clamoring for ethics in government, McDonnell should keep promises—particularly involving the safety of our schools.

I are asking you to strengthen, not loosen laws to keep guns out of the hands of the unstable; I am asking you not to weaken mental health care—keep it in the hands of the state

Yours sincerely,

David Cariens

Kilmarnock, Virginia

No comments: