- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 1, 2015

In the wake of last week’s shooting at a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Tuesday called for a renewed focus on mental health systems in the country so that people who are “spiraling out of control” can be identified earlier.

“The impulse to do something whenever we have these tragedies inevitably impacts the 99.99 percent of people that use firearms appropriately,” Mr. Bush said at a town hall-style event in Iowa. “[They] use it for recreational purposes, they use it for protection of their homes; they use it for the right reason.”

“So I’m always nervous about this desire to do something where the net result is you don’t solve the problem; you’re taking people’s rights away,” said Mr. Bush, a 2016 GOP presidential candidate.

President Obama and other Democrats have called for further controls like increased background checks in the wake of last week’s shooting, which left three dead and nine injured.

“As it relates to these violent acts, to me, the one common denominator is these are deranged people,” Mr. Bush said. “These are completely deranged people, and they have severe mental health issues. In every case, there was the possibility of intervening, but it didn’t happen.”

Mr. Bush said there are some issues tied to privacy rights, but that “there has to be some balance.”

“Because if we can identify people that are spiraling out of control, we need to identify them earlier rather than later,” he said. “State laws need to be modified, I think, to make sure that the databases that are checked are serious about identifying people that have had access to mental health networks where they can’t purchase a gun.”

“Some states do this better than others, and I think best practices need to be built up in each state to make sure that everybody strengthens their laws in that regard,” he said. “If you’ve been identified with a serious mental health challenge, or maybe you’ve been in the criminal justice system and your adjudication was withheld, and under normal circumstances you could get a gun but you have evidence of a mental health illness, a serious problem, I don’t think you should be able to get a gun.”

“And I think the NRA and other groups would support that notion as well,” he said.

Speaking about the Colorado shooting Tuesday morning, House Speaker Paul Ryan made a similar call to address mental health issues in the country.

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