Congress

Ryan says Congress must fix mental health system after Colorado shootings

House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., accompanied by Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, meet with reporters following a GOP strategy session on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015. Ryan sports a beard man, showing off plenty of facial hair in what his office called his "hunting beard" that he began growing Saturday at "deer camp."
House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wis., accompanied by Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, meet with reporters following a GOP strategy session on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015. Ryan sports a beard man, showing off plenty of facial hair in what his office called his "hunting beard" that he began growing Saturday at "deer camp." AP

In the wake of last week’s deadly shootings at a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood facility, House Speaker Paul Ryan said Congress must do more to fix the nation’s mental health system.

Ryan, R-Wisconsin, called Friday’s shootings "appalling" and argued that lawmakers "can do more" to deter similar incidents in the future.

"And one common denominator in these tragedies is mental illness," he told reporters Tuesday. "That’s why we need to look at fixing our nation’s mental illness health system."

Ryan didn’t offer specifics, but he did point to a mental health overhaul bill sponsored by Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pennsylvania.

Robert Lewis Dear, 57, who lived in Black Mountain, N.C., was arrested and faces charges in connection with the shootings that left three people dead and nine others wounded.

While Ryan emphasized addressing mental health to help curb violence, President Barack Obama said the Colorado Springs shootings showed the need for placing tougher controls on "weapons of war."

"We have to do something about the easy accessibility of weapons of war on our streets to people who have no business wielding them," Obama said Saturday. "Period. Enough is enough."

William Douglas: 202-383-6026, @williamgdouglas

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