Catholic bishops call for gun control, mental health reforms


The shooting has sparked a national debate over gun control and mental healthcare in the United States. President Obama has created a special task force on gun violence designed to make policy recommendations by the end of January.

The bishops' conference has been tough on Obama when it comes to the healthcare law and its birth control coverage mandate,  but the group's statement Friday indicated that it would be a source of support for a crackdown on guns.

The bishops also called for greater sensitivity toward people with mental illnesses and their families, as well as better access to care.

"Our society must provide health services and support to those who have mental illnesses and to their families and caregivers," the bishops said.

"There is no shame in seeking help for oneself or others; the only shame is in refusing to provide care and support."

The statement also decried what the bishops called the "profit motive" behind the rise of violent films and video games.

"Such portrayals of violence have desensitized all of us … We need to admit that the viewing and use of these products has negative emotional, psychological and spiritual effects on people."