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Virginia gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds speaks at a rally at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, October 27, 2009.    REUTERS/Jim Young    (UNITED STATES POLITICS) - RTXQ2KZ
Virginia state Sen. Creigh Deeds
A few months ago, Democratic Virginia State Sen. Creigh Deeds lost his son. An emergency custody order had been issued for Gus Deeds, but Virginia authorities were unable to find a bed in any nearby mental health facilities; the next day the younger Deeds attacked his father, stabbing him repeatedly, before fatally shooting himself.

Sen. Deeds has now introduced a series of bills attempting to address shortcomings that contributed to the tragedy.

“I cry a lot. I can’t focus now and talk to anyone,” wrote Deeds in an email exchange with the local publication Recorder in November. “My life’s work now is to make sure other families don’t have to go through what we are living.”

According to the Washington Post, Deeds has introduced three bills — S.B. 260, S.B. 263, and S.B. 287 — that would collectively extend how long authorities can hold someone under an emergency custody order (like the one issued to Deeds’ son); establish a statewide, real-time registry for available psychiatric beds; and make it a felony to give a firearm to someone who is prohibited from owning one.

Also under consideration in Virginia: increasing funding to mental health facilities so that fewer people need be turned away.

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