Del. Joseph Yost, R-Blacksburg, urged his colleagues in the House of Delegates today to focus on strengthening the mental health system and said the issue should not take a back seat to a more controversial debate about gun control.
In a morning hour speech, Yost said he was angered and saddened by what happened on the House floor Thursday, when Del. Joe Morrissey, D-Henrico County, held an assault rifle in the air while calling for a law to ban the sale of such weapons.
Yost reflected on the April 16, 2007 mass shootings at Virginia Tech and said that events such as last month’s shootings in Newtown, Conn., present legislators with “complex challenges that require complex solutions, and not political theater.”
“Where is the drive to seek solutions to our mental health system?” said Yost, who works in behavioral health. “To me, the conversation on gun control is nothing more than a political sideshow that, as it has done in the past, will get us sidetracked from the real issue at hand.”
Yost, who serves on Gov. Bob McDonnell’s school and campus safety task force, said he looks forward “to providing my background and experience on helping bring progress to this important issue.”
“But I also ask everyone to please remember and do more for the one in four who suffer from a mental health condition, because that one could be your mother, your father, your sister, your brother, or even you,” Yost said.
– Michael Sluss