Isla Vista shootings: Congress focusing on mental health bills instead of gun control in wake of rampage

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There's been a moment of silence on the floor of the House of Representatives for the victims of last weekend's Isla Vista rampage, but no talk of gun control legislation in Congress. Instead, the focus is on mental health issues.

Pennsylvania Republican Tim Murphy is trying to revive interest in a bill he introduced last year. It would allow mental health professionals to tell parents about a child's illness — even if the patient is legally an adult. That was the case with Isla Vista shooter Elliot Rodger, who was 22 and reportedly under the care of several therapists.

On Friday, House Democrats will introduce what they call "major mental health and domestic violence legislation aimed at reducing and preventing gun violence." But without a single GOP co-sponsor, the measure has little chance of advancing.

RELATED: Shooter's parents issue statement; rampage shows mental health law gaps

The last time Congress tackled gun control — after the 2012 mass shooting at the Newtown, Connecticut elementary school — the U.S. Senate failed to pass a compromise bill on background checks. 

But Santa Barbara Democrat Lois Capps predicts a tipping point — if not in Congress, then among the people who vote. She says family members of those who lost their lives in Isla Vista "are not content with the status quo."

Capps took to the House floor Thursday morning for the second time in 24 hours, calling for background checks, limits on high-capacity magazines, increased school safety and stronger gun trafficking penalties. "This is the least we can do," Capps said. She also called for more cooperation between mental health professionals and law enforcement. 

Capps said she called one constituent, Richard Martinez, the father of one of the six UC Santa Barbara students killed in Isla Vista. "His anger can be useful," Capps said.

Martinez has said he will "go anywhere and do anything to support political candidates who are running for office who are in favor of reasonable gun control." 

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