Lawmaker wants bullet tax to fund child mental health

12:46 AM, Feb 22, 2013   |    comments
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SACRAMENTO, CA - Assem. Roger Dickinson wants a nickel tax on every bullet sold in California to be used to re-fund a mental health program for children.

The School-Based Early Mental Health Intervention and Prevention Services for Children program (EMHI), was cut from the state budget by Gov. Jerry Brown last year.

Mental health advocates said the bill could help restore critical mental health screening and treatment for thousands of vulnerable children from kindergarden to 3rd grade.

"This is one of the most successful programs ever," said mental health advocate Rusty Selix, with the California Council of Community Health Agencies. He added that children served by the program, "don't wind up in child welfare, they don't wind up in juvenile justice, they stay in school. They graduate from high school."

But recreational shooters said they are being unfairly targeted by the bill.

"I don't think that's fair. I mean, people that do recreational shooting, they shouldn't be taxed high because they just like to come into a range," said Terrell Zeidan, as she left a shooting range in North Sacramento.

The nickel a bullet tax would almost double the cost of .22-caliber rounds.

"Ridiculous. I think, too much," said Kuo Hwang, a recreational shooter who said he would consider giving up his pastime if the law were to become law.

Some believe the new law is an appropriate way to help curb gun violence.

"In the light of what's happened lately and the fact that we really need help around our mental health services for kids and for adults, that it's something that could really be helpful," said David Andersen who is not a recreational gun user.

But the new law may be a tough sell, even for some who do not own guns.

"I don't really agree with it. I mean, I'm sure that there's other ways that they can fund for mental health," Laura Cather said.


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