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Mass Shootings and Mental Disability Rights in the United States

Mon., Feb. 25, 12:00-1:30pm ET, WCL Room 603

The tragedies in Connecticut, Colorado, and Arizona have sparked debate over the link between mass shootings, gun control, and persons with psychological and psychosocial disabilities. Proposals for reducing gun violence – such as New York’s SAFE Act and President Obama’s recommended executive action – involve provisions addressing mental health, raising questions as to whether focusing attention on persons with mental disabilities is necessary to prevent tragic shootings or whether this type of policy vilifies persons with psychological and psychosocial disabilities. A panel of experts examined new trends in gun control legislation from a human rights perspective, both in terms of protecting the lives and safety of the community and in terms of ensuring the rights of persons with mental disabilities to liberty, equality and nondiscrimination. Panelists included:

  • Prof. Robert Dinerstein, Professor of Law and Director of the Disability Rights Law Clinic, WCL
  • Ira Burnim, Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
  • Sherry Trafford, Attorney, the Mental Health Division of the Public Defender Service for the District of Columbia
  • Anupa Iyer, Global Coordinator for Disabled People International's Global Youth Network

Moderator: Lauren E. Bartlett, Project Director, Center for Human Rights & Humanitarian Law


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