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Congressman Gus Bilirakis

Representing the 12th District of Florida

Congressman Bilirakis Issues Statement in Response to Tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School

February 15, 2018
Press Release

“I am heartbroken by this senseless act of violence.  My thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who lost their lives and with the victims who were injured and traumatized by this tragedy.  Despite the attempts by some to sensationalize this tragic issue, we can all agree it highlights the fact that we have a broken mental health system. It is often too difficult to get seriously ill people access to the care they need, despite multiple warning signs, until its too late.  That has to change.  This cannot be a partisan issue.  Mental illness affects people of both political parties, both genders, all races, all income brackets, and all ages. It is one of the root causes of many societal problems. I co-sponsored legislation that was signed into law in 2016, which made improvements, but there is much more work to be done including ensuring that those who are mentally ill do not have access to weapons.  This is an area where we should be able to find common ground.  We have to work together to enact meaningful change, and I will continue this fight until we solve this very complex problem,” said Congressman Bilirakis.