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Advocates say gun screening, duty to protect proposals could miss mark

January 29, 2013

In an unprecedented letter to the President, representatives of the mental health and substance use care and prevention fields congratulated the President and Vice President on actions already taken to improve prevention, early intervention, and care for children and adolescents. The letter also proposes an approach to gun screening that focuses scrutiny on individual behavior, specifically "expressed and intended violence," to prevent the unjust singling out of entire groups such as people with mental illnesses or substance abuse problems.  Advocates also suggested a duty to protect approach for behavioral health providers that is modeled on successful strategies already employed with disability populations.

This initiative is a specific effort to focus screening and duty to protect on a behavior - expressed and intended violence - rather than on broad groups of people, such as people with mental illnesses or people who have substance use problems. It has long been established that most persons with these behavioral health conditions are not violent, and are, in fact, more likely to be the subjects of violence. Professionals within these fields have offered to work with the President to define and implement appropriate screening and duty to protect strategies that provide this essential focus.

You can access the letter to the President and the attachment at: Access Letter and Attachment.

If you would like to join other organizations and individuals who have already signed the letter, please contact me at:

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