Colorado Senator Cory Gardner along with many other Republican leaders have called for expanded mental health programs to help prevent the kinds of shootings such as occurred in Parkland, Florida, last week. Unfortunately very few Republican politicians have actually supported funding of any kind for mental health care. An example of this lack of commitment was displayed by Colorado State Senate Republicans who in committee unanimously voted down funding for a school based suicide prevention program (SB-18-114) on the same day as the Parkland tragedy. Republicans calling for more mental health services is really a dodge which they use to avoid tackling the thorny issue of gun control, an issue complicated by the fact that many, including Sen. Gardner and Representative Scott Tipton, receive significant campaign contributions from the gun lobby.
Politicians from both parties should regard this issue as a public health problem and come together to formulate a response to this serious problem. They need to take a look at how gun violence in schools has been significantly reduced in other countries such as Australia and the UK and adopt those practices here. Our children deserve to have a safe learning environment in which to thrive and grow.