Colorado bill to create panel on mental illness, substance abuse and gun control moves forward

DENVER - A Democrat-sponsored bill that would create a legislative panel to study gun control for the mentally ill and people with substance abuse problems advanced in a Colorado House committee Tuesday.

The 6-5 party-line vote with Republican opposition came Tuesday after lawmakers and witnesses testifying expressed worry that a task force would stigmatize people suffering from mental health issues.

Democratic Rep. Beth McCann, the bill sponsor, says she wants to have a discussion on how to address gun violence, but doesn't have a predetermined expected outcome from the task force.

The panel would include lawmakers and mental health professionals who would issue a report to legislators by January 2015.

McCann says she introduced the bill because the suspect in last year's movie theater massacre had been seeing a psychiatrist before the shooting.

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