Gun debate erupts at Seattle's Town Hall

SEATTLE -- Gun violence was the focus of a debate Monday night at Seattle's Town Hall.

Talk did not center around assault weapons or high-capacity magazines, instead it was focused on gun violence as a product of untreated mental health issues.

The forum, sponsored by the People at Town Hall and the University of Washington School of Public Health, featured discussion on how to address gun violence as related to public health. Seattle residents, officials and health professionals provided insight as to how gun violence was related to such things as untreated mental health issues and understaffed health facilities.

Many speakers who found time behind the microphone grew quite passionate. Dr. Beth Ebel, the Harborview Medical center's Director of Injury Prevention and Research Center, said she was disturbed knowing that someday, injured children could come under her care if the community doesn't act.

"It is a privilege to take care of kids who are ill and injured," Ebel said. " but, what is sad is knowing that there is something that we ought to be doing about this so these kids do not come into our hospital after being shot. That is the sadness. Failure to act on what we know works. So we must simply act."

Many spoke on behalf of comprehensive background and mental health checks. Though no hard solutions were determined, the forum provided valuable insight and was a step in the right direction, Ebel said.