Aurora Theater Shooting

John Hickenlooper unveils new mental-health plan, days after Newtown tragedy

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"On one hand, it looks like a significant amount of money," Hickenlooper said of the requests, but noted that government spends a great deal on a wide range of preventative measures. "We think we are going to get sufficient and significant results from this investment."

In his speech, the governor said that no single system can be fail-proof, but added, "I believe these policies will reduce the probability of bad things happening to good people."

Although there are a lot of contentious debates about what factors contribute to mass shootings and how laws can work to prevent them, Hickenlooper oted that "mental illness seems to be at the heart of a lot of these issues."

He continued, "What happened in Newtown is beyond comprehension.... After Aurora, I never thought we'd see something...that would cause such deep despair."

After Aurora and in the days following the Newtown tragedy, there have been calls for a serious conversation about access to mental health in this country -- and Don Mares, director of Mental Health America of Colorado, a nonprofit group, said that this announcement is about actually taking actions.

Plus, Mares said, "When you stand up and talk about this, it actually in a way validates that mental health is a good thing to talk about, that it's important that we're talking about it, and I think you are elevating the issue and really breaking down the stigma in ways that hasn't been done in a long time."

More from our Politics archive: "Newtown, Aurora and Columbine: Mass shootings, gun hysteria...and MK Ultra?"

Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin. E-mail the author at [email protected].

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Sam Levin
Contact: Sam Levin