Congress passes gun safety legislation with Stabenow’s mental health program

Washington – The biggest change in gun safety law in a generation was headed for President Joe Biden’s signature Friday, and it included expanded eligibility for a mental health program written by Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow.

The Democratic-led House voted 234-193 to approve the legislation Friday. Michigan US Reps. Fred Upton of St. Joseph and Peter Meijer of Grand Rapids Township were among the 14 House Republicans who voted yes.

It followed Senate passage late Thursday with 15 Republican senators voting with Democrats in support of the package, which has been hailed as the most significant gun legislation in 30 years.

Stabenow’s measure, co-written by Missouri Republican Sen. Roy Blunt, reimburses states through Medicaid for mental health and addiction services provided at federally qualified community health clinics that must offer 24-hour crisis services, among other elements.

“We know that more than half of all gun deaths are suicides and those with mental illness are more likely to be a victim of violence than perpetuate it,” Stabenow said in a statement after the Senate vote.

“This bill builds on my transformational behavioral health care initiative to bring high-quality mental health and addiction services to communities across the country to get people the care they need as part of the health care system.”

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