Managing Government Relations Director Ilisa Halpern Paul was quoted in a Washington Post article, “Sandy Hook Shooting Reshapes the Lobbying Landscape on Gun Laws, Mental Health Services.”
Ilisa, who has lobbied on mental health and gun control issues in the past, said the shooting will likely bring together a broader coalition of interest groups concerned about public safety. “You’ll start to see teachers’ groups step in, maybe even the PTAs. You may even start to see church groups, synagogues [get involved] ... This is going to be a broader community safety issue beyond the usual entrenched interest groups,” she said.
The article notes that in December 2012, 105 such individuals and organizations signed a letter asking Congress to double the nation’s capacity for mental illness treatment and early intervention services.
Ilisa said the campaigners’ biggest challenge will be overcoming the financial advantage of the gun lobby, which is one of the most well-financed and entrenched interest groups in Washington.
She described the group as “the big 800-pound gorilla versus a very diverse and almost balkanized group of organizations that all care about [gun violence].” She added that “the mental health community and gun control community don’t have deep pockets. But they have the boots on the ground. They have voices of families who have been affected, they’ll have to figure out a way to galvanize that.”
To read the entire article, click the link below.