Likewise, Chippendale wants the state to examine its mental health programs to ensure they’re robust enough to help ill people before a tragedy like the one in Newtown. He said that as a father himself he wants to do whatever he can to prevent gun violence, but that mental health resources might be more effective than gun laws that can be ignored by criminals or the mentally ill.
After all, the tragedy in Connecticut occurred in a state that’s considered to have some of the strictest gun laws in the nation.
‘‘We have a dire need to look at the services for mental health and give those folks (mental health professionals) the tools they need,’’ he said. ‘‘Our system is overloaded. We need more people, money and better laws. That’s what I'd like to see us focus on.’’
Tanzi, who supports tougher firearm restrictions, agreed. But she warned finding funding for better mental health programs could be more politically challenging than strengthening gun laws.
‘‘Tackling the mental health issue is going to be the really difficult thing,’’ she said. ‘‘Because it costs money.’’