Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment. Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.
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Host: Scott LaMar
Earlier this month, Congress voted to revoke a rule set forth by the Obama Administration that banned the sale of guns to people who are registered as receiving mental disability support from the Social Security Administration.
About 75,000 Americans, who are described by the New York Times as "individuals who suffer from schizophrenia, psychotic disorders and other problems to such an extent that they are unable to manage their financial affairs and other basic tasks without help" would have had their names added to a national background check database that would have prevented them from legally purchasing guns.
Supporters of the ban regard it as common sense gun legislation - Democratic Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy worried "I hope something truly awful doesn't happen because of this."
Those who supported the repeal felt the wording of the ban was overly broad and infringed upon 2nd Amendment rights. Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley feared the ban would preclude anyone with "an eating disorder" to buy a gun.
Representative Tim Murphy (R-PA) / Shira Goodman - Executive Director, CeaseFirePA
On the Thursday edition of WITF's Smart Talk, Republican Congressman Tim Murphy, who represents part of Southwest Pennsylvania, lends his perspective as the only pyschologist in Congress as to why he supports the repeal of this ban. We will also talk with Shira Goodman, Executive Director of Cease Fire PA, about why her organization feels a ban on weapons sales to the mentally ill is a good idea.
Also, many Lancaster County residents rely on the 67 volunteer fire companies that service the region. But volunteer numbers have dropped dramatically - from a peak 250,000 in the 1970's to about 45,000 today.
A grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency has allowed the Lancaster County Fire Chiefs Association to initiate a recruitment drive to sign up and train 210 new volunteer firefighters over the next three years.
Duane Hagelgan - Commissioner, Blue Rock Fire Rescue
Duane Hagelgans, commissioner of Blue Rock Fire Rescue and a retired Lancaster city battalion chief, joins us on Smart Talk to discuss the impact a shortage of firefighters has on the community and how people can apply to volunteer.
on gun ban repeal:
- I am one of his constituents from Bethel Park, and I would like to know why he feels that addressing the danger of guns in connection with mentally ill people is a 'distraction' when attempting to keep them and others safe. Studies have shown that when guns are available, suicidal people are more likely to successfully act on their suicidal impulses. While I agree that we need to do more in regards to treatment and addressing the root cause of their illness, that does not preclude addressing the dangerous availability of guns at the same time. As I'm sure the Representative is aware, no treatment is immediate in resolving a patient's issues, and while their root illness is being addressed by treatment, we should do all we can to keep them and others safe by limiting their access to guns, which are imminently more lethal than other possible methods of either suicide or violence towards others.
Also - as a constituent, I would like to know when the representative will be having a town hall in our district. - Ray, Bethel Park
- Will the Congressman introduce new legislation? - Ben
- Only the most severe, chronically mentally ill patients should be receiving SSi Disability specifically granted because of their long history mental illness. This is not an easy process to become qualified and typically takes 2 years. This group has severe mental health issue- psychosis, severe depression, bipolar that cannot be controlled adequately with their medications. These are chronically ill patients who are not going to get better. Once you get this designation, this individual should not be able to purchase a weapon. It it not possible to identify those with acute mental health problems. But those extensively evaluated for many year, many drugs, multiple therapies and are identified as having chronic, life long disease shouldn't be allowed to buy a gun. - Michael, Lancaster
- Simple question: should mental health be an essential benefit for all health insurance plans? - Dan
on volunteer firefighting:
- My next-door neighbor wants to volunteer for the local fire department but during his background check they discovered 12 years ago he has a felony drug charge and told him he could not volunteer because of that. I know that every department has their own rules and policies but when you are in need of volunteers shouldn't there be forgiveness? - Paul
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