Twenty-seven wooden angel figures are seen placed in a wooded area beside a road near the Sandy Hook Elementary School for the victims of a school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut December 16, 2012. Twelve girls, eight boys and six adult women were killed in the shooting on Friday at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.
Memorial for the the 27 people murdered in Newtown, Connecticut.
Many elected Republicans don't want any new restrictions on guns. They say preventing gun violence would be better achieved by fixing the mental health system. Which would be a respectable if arguable stance if they really meant it. But, like the National Rifle Association saying existing gun-control laws should be enforced rather than passing new ones, there's a little disconnect. The NRA has fought budgeting and administrative rules that would allow for robust enforcement. Many Republicans saying fix the mental health system voted against doing just that five years ago:

Josh Israel writes:

Accessing mental health services in the United States is harder than accessing a gun. In 2008, Congress took a step toward addressing that issue by passing the long-delayed Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, which required most health insurance plans to start treating mental health services in the same way they treat all other medical care. The bill included exemptions for small businesses and those who opted not to cover mental health coverage at all, but House Republicans still overwhelmingly opposed the effort, 145 to 47.

Now, several of those opponents are criticizing President Obama, who co-sponsored the Wellstone Act, for not doing enough to address mental health in his gun violence proposals—even though several of the executive orders in the package do just that.

I try to avoid overusing the label "hypocritical horse's ass," but here are three of the guys from Josh's longer list who richly deserve it for voting against the mental health law but now are calling for fixing the mental health system as cover for their opposition to reasonable gun restrictions:

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN): “We need to have a serious conversation about mental health, psychiatric drugs, and the potential impact violent video games and movies have on our kids. I will closely review the President’s proposals, however I am concerned his approach is a pre-determined attempt to redefine our Constitution. I am not going to allow this administration to trample on the Second Amendment or put new restrictions on the rights of law-abiding citizens to own firearms and ammunition.” NRA rating: A

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX): “Mental health issues that have languished for decades may be a fertile ground for bipartisan efforts to make a true difference. Perhaps, a good first step toward curbing gun violence may well be rebuilding the sanctity and importance of the family and the home where there can be education, training and an honest conversation about guns, without treading on the Constitutional protections from criminals intent on invading the home.” NRA rating: A

Sen. John Boozman (R-AR): (was representative when he voted no): “Firearms are the tools, not the cause. If we are serious about reducing gun crimes, we need to get to the root cause which includes addressing mental health issues in our country. That is where we need to focus on finding a solution.” NRA Rating: A

Yes. The mental health system needs reforming, needs more funding and needs to be part of our debate about reducing gun violence. But these sanctimonious twerps have proved by their votes that they are obviously not interested in that, only in deflection.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 01:03 PM PST.

Also republished by Shut Down the NRA and Daily Kos.

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