When safety nets fail on gun background checks, mental health

President Trump at a gun violence listening session.
President Trump at a listening session on gun violence. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

In the wake of mass shootings, lawmakers almost always talk about a focus on mental health as part of the solution. But existing policy proposals would only partially address the loopholes that can end up allowing dangerous people to obtain powerful weapons.

Don't forget: The politics surrounding mass shootings can reinforce unfounded stigmas about mental health: Research suggests that most people with a mental illness are not violent, and that most gun crimes are not committed by people with serious mental illnesses. Even so, there's a broad agreement in Congress that some individuals' mental illnesses should make it harder for them to obtain a gun.