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tv   US Senate  CSPAN  June 15, 2016 2:00pm-4:01pm EDT

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consolidated list that the senator from connecticut referred to earlier, is free to watch into any gun store or any gun show, and in seven minutes as a reporter from the philadelphia enquirer was able to do, i believe, seven minutes, simply present the money and walk out with an ar-15 assault weapon, a firearm designed to kill as many people as possible as quickly as possible, designed for combat. and largely manufactured and used around the world to kill people. not predominantly for hunting or recreation. designed to kill people. isn't there an irony to this
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kind of inconsistency -- irony is probably a euphemism. isn't that an outrage that the terrorist watch list people can buy an ar-15, no questions asked in seven minutes or less or slightly more and a convicted felon having committed a serious crime, having paid his dues to society, having paid a fine, having served time in prison, done and out, and we talk a lot now about second chance society, about there being able to live normal lives and work and so forth, but that person is barred even though that person may be far less dangerous, far less a threat to innocent people in
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orlando or virginia tech or newtown, connecticut, or to the 30,000 people every year who either are killed or kill themselves because of this easy availability of guns to people who are dangerous. the terrorist watch list again, not a panacea, not a single solution barring those people from buying guns will not fix this problem alone. but it is a start, and it sends a message and it will provide hope to those families who have looked in our eyes, the families of newtown, families across the country who have lost loved ones and say why can't congress act? and that's why we're here saying enough is enough, if i'm
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correct. mr. murphy: senator blumenthal, i don't think there is any more i can offer in an answer. you are both correct that it is both ironic and outrageous. i would yield to the senator from maryland for a question without losing my right to the floor. mr. cardin: mr. president, through the chair, i would like to inquire to my friend from connecticut the relationship here between the tragedies we've seen far too often in this country, most recently in orlando, but as senator murphy and senator blumenthal know all too well, newtown and virginia tech and the list goes on and on. the work that we have done in order to protect our homeland from radicalization, i would like to ask you that you have been one of the leaders on the senate foreign relations committee, senator merkley, and
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you have worked very hard to make sure that we have the very best intelligence information to keep our country safe, to support law enforcement against terrorists so that we do everything we can to make sure we identify those who could commit terrorist actions and take law enforcement action against those individuals. and senator murphy, the orlando episode, we don't know all about it yet. we're still learning information about the perpetrator, but we know that the lgbt community feels particularly threatened by what happened, that were victimized at this particular spot. and senator murphy and senator booker and senator blumenthal, senator markey are on the floor, have all worked very hard to deal with the root causes of hate in our society, which is another factor concerning the
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safety in our communities. i would like to get the connection here on the gun issues, but i think it's important to point out that we have worked very hard to support the lgbt community, to make it clear that all people in this country rights are going to be protected. we have celebrated the supreme court decision that recognized marriage, we have celebrated some actions within our military to open up full participation by the lgbt community, we were particularly pleased with the recent confirmation that we saw taking place in our military with eric fannery. we have seen some progress in america and globally we have seen some progress in regards to
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the lgbt community. we have seen in several countries -- and i mention this specifically and ask the question of senator murphy because of your work on the senate foreign relations committee. but in malta, ireland, thailand, libya, vietnam, laws have been passed to protect transgender. that's all work we have done to try to keep all of our communities safe. ukraine passed a law that repealed one of the work force discrimination laws against the lgbt community. these are all important steps that we have taken to try to keep not only our community but the global community safe from these types of hate acts. we have taken some positive steps in trying to isolate terrorists and trying to make sure law enforcement has all the tools that they have and we have done a lot of work to protect vulnerable communities to make sure that we stand for all rights for all people.
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so i applaud our colleagues for being on the floor to talk about the relationship here, and that's what i want to ask you about, of why in the week following orlando, you're on the floor talking about gun safety. i noticed that in the orlando tragedy, one of the weapons that was used was an assault weapon, a military style weapon. i must tell you that in my observations in maryland, i don't know too many people who need to have that type of weapon in order to do hunting in my state or to keep themselves safe. it seems to be a weapon of choice by those who want to commit crimes. you've already talked at great length about terrorists, those on the terrorist watch lists, and that loophole that exists. or we could talk about what happened in your state with the high volume ammunition clip that
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certainly added to the numbers of victims before law enforcement could deal with the perpetrator. so my question to you is as we're looking at ways to keep americans safe, how do you see these issues coming together? how could we have a coordinated strategy and why haven't beacted mr. murphy: i thank the gentleman for the question. i want to thank you for the work you've done as our leader on the foreign relations committee to make lgbt rights not just a domestic priority but an international priority for this country, and i started this out about three hours ago talking about how complicated this attack was in orlando and how many different competing influencers there were on just incomprehensible decision that this individual made. but clearly he had a hatred in his heart for people in the lgbt
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community, and it's a reinforcement for us to pay attention to the words that we use, the things that we do and the legislation that we contemplate or pass. that if we are building inclusive societies in this country and promoting as you are, senator cardin through the chair, inclusive societies abroad, then we give less room for individuals who might be contemplating these hateful actions against individuals that are a member of a minority group lgbt, hispanic, what it may be. and so i think our obligation here is multifold. we need to pass stronger gun laws, we need to take the fight to isis, but we need to double down on inclusive societies, we need to double down on fighting discrimination against our lgbt brothers and sisters because to the extent that we make discrimination, we make hatred,
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we make ma leaf length -- malevolent thought much more of an outlier, we cut down on this happening in the future. i thank the gentleman for bringing together all of these other things, all of these other potential steps forward on our gun laws. of course assault weapons should not be legal in this country. when they were prohibited for ten years, we saw a diminution in the number of mass murders committed. of course these megaclips, the 30 round and 100-round clips have no place in civilized society. i hope if we start exercising this muscle of getting consensus on gun laws, we start with background checks and the terror gap, which we know the american public is together on and we know that we can find agreement in this body, then that will give us the platform with which to get agreement on some of these other issues. if we start finding common ground today, this afternoon, tonight, then we have the room to find more common ground in the future, but the gentleman is right. we have to link these efforts
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together, we have to understand how complicated the motivations were for the shooter, but we also have to understand that we are not powerful in confronting it, yielding to the gentleman for a question. mr. cardin: through the chair, just one additional question, if i might ask, at this time. and that is you pointed out rightly show that there is no one problem that we have to deal with, that there are multiple issues involved here. and i have heard some of my colleagues say well, the problem's not the weapons that they use, the problem's not the social issues. the problem's not this or that. but i would ask my friend from connecticut, it seems to me that the one option that should be off the table, and that is doing nothing. it just seems to me that the american people are demanding, and rightly so, that we take
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action now to make our communities safer, and they quite frankly don't understand the inaction of this body, and quite frankly i don't understand the inaction of this body. would my colleague agree that the only option we should take off the table in trying to deal with this, an option we should take off is doing nothing? mr. murphy: thank you, senator cardin. through you, through the chair, the president, senator cardin. i think that's why we're here. i think that's why we are here. this was just back breaking. the idea of this body moving on as if it's just business as usual after the worst mass shooting in the history of this nation, coming on the heals of the second and the third -- heels of the second and the third and the fourth mass shooting of this country is unreasonable. i think were you are here, why
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senator markey has joined us, senator manchin, senator schumer is here, why there are others coming to ask questions of me later today is because there is no option other than action, and the idea that we wouldn't even try, the idea that the leadership of this body wouldn't even schedule a debate this week to try to find common ground. instead just moving on as if it didn't happen, that's the only thing that's truly unacceptable. i thank the gentleman, and i would yield to the senator from massachusetts for a question without losing my right to the floor. mr. markey: and i thank the senator from connecticut and i thank him for his leadership on this issue. it's the issue that we should be debating this week, next week in the united states senate. i thank him and senator blumenthal from connecticut, senator durbin, senator booker, senator cardin. everyone whose voices down here
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is saying the same thing. we have learned a lot about this problem, but we still don't know all of the answers, but the answers that we do know we should be voting on this week. we should be putting those protections on the books. and so there is a commonsense knowledge that we each know that the f.b.i. should have the authority to block gun sales to potential terrorists. how hard is that? no gun sales to potential terrorists in the united states. the n.r.a. says no. the n.r.a. said no last year, the n.r.a. said no the year before, the n.r.a. controls the agenda of the united states senate. they control this body. they are the ones who decide
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whether or not guns can be sold to terrorists in the united states of america. the n.r.a. now, the american people say n.r.a. should stand for not relevant anymore in american politics. but it's not so. the n.r.a. controls whether or not we'll be able to vote on banning terrorists from being able to purchase guns. so a terrorist can be on a no fly list, can't get on a plane, don't want a terrorist in the passenger cabin of a plane in the united states so they're banned from getting on that plane but they can just walk across the street into a gun shop and buy an assault weapon that they can then use to kill people in the united states who they hate. does that really make any sense?
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of course not. where don't we have the vote? because the n.r.a. does not want a vote here on the floor of the united states senate. they don't want to debait on this issue -- they don't want a debate on this issue. so we're going to continue to stand up and fight for this vote, for this issue to be considered here on the floor for as long as it takes because if the f.b.i. believes there's a reasonable chance that someone is going to use a gun in a terrorist attack on our people, it should have the ability to block the sale of a gun to that person. that's only common sense. that's what the police chiefs want. it's what the f.b.i. wants. why are we being denied a vote here on the floor of the senate on that issue? so this goes all the way back to the incredible power of the
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n.r.a. historically. from 2004 until 2014 people on the terrorist watch list legally purchased guns -- listen to this -- more than 2,000 times because the f.b.i. had no authority to block those sales. can you believe that? over a ten-year period, 2,000 times, the f.b.i. could not stop a terrorist, a potential terrorist from buying a gun in the united states because the national rifle association does not want potential terrorists to be denied purchasing guns in the united states. now what kind of crazy position is that for the n.r.a. to take? the potential terrorists should be allowed to buy guns in the united states?
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well, back in 1994 we were having a debate over the ban of assault weapons in our country, but it came to my attention that china was actually selling one million semiautomatic assault weapons per year for $80 a piece inside of the united states, a million guns a year. and we were negotiating a treaty with china at the same time. so i organized about 130 members of the house on a letter to president clinton saying no support for any deal with china until china agrees that they will not be selling assault weapons for $80 a year in our country. that was it 2 -- that was 22 years ago. a million assault weapon as year being sold by china. that would be 22 million additional assault weapons in our country. coming in from china. that's banned. however, the ban -- the domestic
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ban here expired a couple years ago. now here we have another case of a terrorist saying that he was inspired by isis, inspired by this so-called caliphate outside of our borders to buy a weapon to kill americans. like china are we just going to allow the n.r.a. to say no, it's all part of free commerce? no, we don't have any rights to limit the sale of these weapons? or are we going to say there has to be commerce with a conscience, that not everything can be sold to anyone in our country, that some people and some things are too dangerous to be allowed to be purchased within our country. so i support very strongly the
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bill which senator feinstein has introduced to give the attorney general the discretion to prevent someone from buying a firearm or explosives or obtaining firearms if the attorney general determines that the individual is a known or suspected terrorist and has a reasonable belief that the individual may use the weapon in connection with terrorism. can it happen again? you know that it can happen again. this terrorist is citing the two terrorists in boston, the tsarnaev brothers as an inspiration to him. there's an online brainwashin bg recruitment which is going on all across our country. so that idea is out there. the question is how easy are we going to make it for them to be able to gain access to the instrumentality of their devastating acts against our
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society? are we just going to allow them to walk into any gun store once they've been so radicalized that they're about to act on these dangerous activities? well, senate republicans oppose that common sense legislation. senate robes aren't -- senate republicans aren't allowing us to have a vote or debate on this issue out on the senate floor. one day after the tragic terrorist attack in san bernardino last december, senate republicans voted against senator feinstein's legislation to close the terrorist gap in terms of their ability to be able to buy these assault weapons. six months later, omar mateen, a terrorist investigated by the f.b.i. targeted the lgbtq community and murdered 49 innocent people at the pulse nightclub in orlando yet the
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republicans continue to willingly follow the n.r.a. and oppose this bill from becoming law in our country. the n.r.a. has repeatedly opposed and worked to block that legislation, and apparently they think it's okay for someone like omar mateen to be able to buy an assault weapon with impunity in our country. mark twain once remarked that common sense is very uncommon. he was surely talking about the senate republican caucus when it comes to having a terrorist be prohibited from buying an assault weapon in the united states of america. this mass shooting in orlando has exposed the senate republicans and their common suffering of a common sense deficit disorder. today i call on them to stop their opposition. i call on them to have the
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courage to stand up for what's right for the american people, for the people of orlando because i truly believe that a vote on that bill, if you hold hands with the n.r.a., the americans will hold you accountable. i hope our republican colleagues understand that and fear that because americans are tired of living in fear that their community will be the next orlando. and i ask another question. wouldn't it be easier to develop effective solutions to gun violence in america if our nation's top researchers could actually do research on gun violence? we are facing an epidemic of gun violence more than 33,000 people are dying in our country each year from gun violence. it is a public health emergency, and we must treat it that way. so shouldn't we ask ourselves why is it happening and what can we do to stop it? when disease and illness bring
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widespread death, doctors, scientists and public health researchers study the causes so that they can find solutions and the federal government invests in those efforts. for diabetes which kills almost 76,000 people in the united states each year, the centers for disease control receives $170 million for planning and preparedness against the flu which leads to 57,000 deaths each year, the c.d.c.'s budget is more than $187 million. for asthma,3600 people, c. d.c. receives $29 million. for gun violence which kills more than 33,000 americans a year, the c.d.c.'s budget is zero dollars. yes, zero dollars. and that's because beginning more than 20 years ago an appropriations rider has prevented the centers for disease control from advocating or promoting gun control. many entered this -- enter ted
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this -- interpreted this provision as a ban and curbed any research into gun violence and how to prevent it. president obama directed the c.d.c. to conduct critical research and the author of the rider, former republican congressman jay dickie of arkansas has disavowed it recognizing it was a mistake and calling for federal gun violence prevention research to move forward. and just yesterday the american medical association, the nation's largest association of physicians voted for the first time in support of ending the so-called ban on c.d.c. gun violence research. as a.m.a. president steven stack said yesterday with about 30,000 people dying each year at the barrel of a gun, an epidemiological analysis of gun violence is in fact necessary. and so that's the question which i ask out here of senator murphy.
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that's the question which i ask of senator durbin. that's the question which i ask the senate president. why can't we find a way to at least fund the research on the causes of gun violence? why can't we find a way to just putting $10 million a year in that research? why can't we do that? i ask senator murphy the question, but he knows the answer. the answer is that the n.r.a. does not want a single nickel to be spent on that issue. and the n.r.a. controls the agenda on the senate floor with a vice-like grip and it will not let it go but we have reached a defining moment. the american people have seen in
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this one incident how tightly the n.r.a. controls the agenda of the republican party in our country. we should already have voted on this ban. we should already have moved on to other gun control issues, but no. whether it be the terror watch list or be research at the c. d.c. on gun violence, no action. so we can study how to prevent children from operating pill bottles, from suffering from head injuries on bicycles, on how to use a cigarette lighter so they don't hurt themselves but shouldn't we study how to stop kids from firing guns that can hurt them? so let's give the medical, scientific and public health community the resources which she need.
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let's ensure that if someone is going to buy a gun that they have to get a background check completed before they're allowed to do it. let's make sure that we put in place all of the protections which are going to be needed to protect ordinary americans from this action. and so i say to senator murphy, i say to senator blumenthal from connecticut, what you suffered in newtown in connecticut is sadly just a preview of coming attractions unless we change the laws in our country, unless we put the preventative measures on the books so we can avoid the worst, most catastrophic consequences of this out of control gun epidemic in our country. and so what you're doing here today along with senator booker is forcing america to understand
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the cause of their problems and understanding why we cannot put a ban on a terrorist from buying a gun in the united states. all issues go through three phases: political education, political activation, political implementation. what the senators are doing here today is forcing this political education, forcing people to understand it's not bipartisan, this is not the -- this is not the whole institution doesn't work. this is a deliberate decision made by the republicans to only abide by what it is that the n.r.a., an outside party, wants to permit being debated here on the senate floor. but at 33,000 deaths a year with terrorist activity after terrorist activity now occurring on our own shores, in boston alone we've had mohammad attah
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and nine others who hijacked two planes. we had the tsarnaev brothers who detonated explosives on patriot's day at the boston marathon. it's time for us to just stop here. it's time for us to start to do the right thing so we can make it harder for these acts to take place. and so i don't think we should stop this discussion until that happens. that's why i thank you, senator murphy, for taking this time, senator booker, senator blumenthal, everywound who has participated -- everyone who has participated and i'm going to be with you every step of the way till we get the votes which the american people expect from their elected senators. i thank you for yielding for a question. mr. murphy: thank you very much, senator markey. i think you've gone to the root of why we're here. there's a lot of very important things in this underlying bill. as i said at the outset, this is
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uncomfortable for those of us who began here at the beginning of this time to postpone amendments and to put off debate on the underlying bill, a very important bill, the c.j.s. bill. we just feel like enough is enough, that this is the moment when this body has to come together and find a path forward to try to address this epidemic of gun violence and admit that it is within our power to make the next attack less likely. and so this doesn't come easily, but at this point many of us think that it's our only hope to really force action. before yield, i know senator booker has a question. before yielding to senator booker for a question, i want to thank senator markey for his leadership on this issue of promoting research into gun violence. unfortunately, science has become politicized and senator markey is on the front lines of
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trying to address climate change, but there is no reason why this congress should be deciding what researchers at the c.d.c. pursue by means of lines of inquiry and what they do not pursue. that should be left up to scientists. that should be left up to people who are professionals in the field of deciding what is worthy of research and what is you not. we are -- and what is not. we are politicians and i don't cower from that term. i'm proud of the fact that i and we have chosen to try to make this country better through the political process, but we aren't scientists. we don't have medical backgrounds, and so when we get into the field of deciding what's worthy of research and what is not, bad things happen routinely, whj it's on the -- whether it's on the question of climatclimate change or whethers on the question of gun violence research. when the federal government bans private research on a subject like gun violence research, it
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chills private dollars from going into those research proposals as well. there is a fear on behalf of the private sector that if they get intermingled with private funds, there could be a problem. that hasn't stopped some people in the private sector from pursuing this research because they know that it's critical. ovio richmond was one of the little boys and girls who was killed in sandy hook. avio was a beautiful, beautiful young girl. and as has been the case with many of the parents following that tragedy, her parents have decided to set up a foundation in her name and maybe over the course of the afternoon we'll be able to talk about some of the other good work that's been done by these foundations, because we think that, as devastating as the tragedy was, newtown and sandy hook are defined by the
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response, the richmond foundation is all about research. the richmond foundation is all about research trying to discover the linkages between meniamen -- mental illness and n violence. we know there is an intersection. but the only money that's going into that intersection right now is private dollars that are being raised by two parents of a girl who perished in sandy hook. they are not professional fund-raisers. they have other jobs. they're trying to scraping together what they can to perform this research. but they know it's worthy. they know it's worth while. but because of that ban that senator markey is trying so hard to overturn, the public sector can't do research into that connection, or it becomes very hard for the public sector to justify it because they fear violating that law. so i thank senator markey for being so persistent on this question of research dollars.
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there's so many different angles of this problem. there's so many different ways to attack it. this is another example of a way in which we could come together. i think this is one of the ways in which democrats and republicans could come together. i yield for a question from the senator from you will i will. mr. durbin: would the senator yield for a question? mr. murphy: i would. mr. durbin: i would like to thank the senator from connecticut, senator murphy. you have been on the floor for a little over three years in the process of raising an important issue about gun violence in america. i think it's important for us from time to time to remind those who might just be joining this conversation why we're here. you are certainly a leader in this, as is senator blumenthal, senator booker, so many others, because we've each in our own ways been touched by gun violence, the terrible trag dhai occurred at sandy hook, in connecticut, the tragedies that we see every weekend, every day in the city of chicago, in newark, all across the united states, and i thank the senator for bringing this to our
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attention. certainly it is orlando that has focused our attention these days, and as i understood your earlier statement, you came to the floor because there was no indication from the republican leadership that we would even have a debate on the issue of guns, terrorists, and keeping america safe. and senator murphy came to the floor saying that he would hold the floor in the hopes that we could move this to the point where there is an actual debate in the united states senate. that would be historic. a real debate in the united states senate about an issue that really means something. and we nowndz in orlando -- and we found in orlando what really means something. so i ask the senator -- i want to make sure there is clarity about what we are trying to seek in this group gathering, in terms of the two proposals, the two amendments which we are seeking. i ask the senator to clarify. one reement -- one relates to wr
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someone who is suspected of being a terrorist can buy a weapon, such as an assault weapon, which literally killed 49 people in that nightclub in orlando and could have killed many more, more than 50 left injured. so if we expect that if -- so if we suspect that a person is a terrorist in the united states, can we slow them down from purchasing a military-style weapon? i think the senator was very prescient in noting that we think of terrorists and bombs, terrorists and airplanes, now with automatic weapons and semiautomatic weapons. these terrorists have the ability to kill dozens of people, if not more. the first question is what can we do to stop those suspected of terrorism from buying weapons and killing us? second question, if we cannot stop them through the ordinary process of going to a gun store, how are we going to stop them if
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they decide to buy a gun on the internet or to buy a gun at a gun show where there is no background check? and i understand the senator from connecticut has suggested we need to close the loopholes so that the roughly 40% of firearms sold without a background check in the united states, that number is reduced dramatically, so we know who's buying a gun and we can keep guns out of the hands of those who would misuse them. so if the senator would state with clarity what our goal and objective is in this now three and a half hour debate. i credit him with let leading it. i ask him to state with clarity the question from me. what is our purpose? what is our goal and the reason we've taken the floor? mr. murphy: thank you. reclaiming my time, i thank the gentleman for asking that question because i think it is important for us to clear about why we're here. we are here not to hold the floor for holding the floor's sake but because we've had enough of condolences and thoughts and prayers without
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action from this body. and we think we've identified two commonsense measures that are supported by the vast majority of the american public, making sure that people who are suspected as being terrorists cannot purchase weapons and making sure that the background check system applies to all of the commercial venues in which guns are sold. we think it's time for us to have a debate on those two measures on the floor of the senate, to be able to get a vote, something that this body used to do a lot of, on those two measures. the and we have selected measures that are not controversial in the american public. they are supported by 80% to 90% of americans. and so we are holding the floor and we are standing on the floor today in anticipation of republican and democratic leadership coming to us and
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saying, we're ready to talk about how we can make this country safer by keeping guns away from suspected terrorists. and if we can get an agreement to have a vote on expanding background checks and including people on the terrorist watch list on the list of those who are prohibited from having guns, then this debate that we're having can stop and we can move forward to a debate. i yield for a question. mr. durbin: if the gentleman will yield for a question, without yielding the floor, i know the answer to this, but i want to make this question for the record. we have had votes on both of those measures. after san bernardino, senator dianne feinstein from california came forward and asked the senate to vote on the simple proposition that if someone's name appears on a terrorist watch list, they would not be able to buy firearms, and her effort failed. similarly, a bipartisan measure by senators manchin and toomey to close the loopholes so there will be background checks failed
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as well. i'd ask the senator from connecticut -- and i know his response -- why would we revisit two issues that have already been voted on in the senate? mr. murphy: these are measures that can save lives. and facts have changed, senator durbin, through the chair, we have seen over and over again the carnage that comes by allowing for these loopholes to persist. yes, we've taken debates on this floor -- we've had debates and taken votes votes on this floor before, but our hope is that our colleagues' eyes have been opened to the epidemic that persists in the absence of legislative action. our job is not to send condolences. our job to actually debate legislation. my hope, through the chair to senator durbin, is that there are discussions happening right now on ways to bring the two parties together around moving these two issues forward.
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our job is to debate and to vote, to go on the record, to show our constituents where we stand on these issues, and to find ways to achieve common ground. our hope is that by holding up consideration of the c.j.s. bill, we will prompt both sides to come together and find a path forward on these issues. mr. durbin: if the senator would yield further for one more question. mr. murphy: i yield for a question. mr. durbin: the c.j.s. bill includes the department of justice appropriation. so we are raising this issue on a bill which has real relevance to the question of our national security and law enforcement and keeping america safe. and i would ask the senator from connecticut, we think of the tragedy that occurred ha -- thaw kurd in your state -- that occurred dm your state, we think about what happened in san bernardino, what has happened across america and now most recently in orlando, the point i tried to make earlier is those are mass murders. more than four or more people killed in each instance.
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but for many of us, the urban violence every day, every weekend that is claiming even more lives should also be our concern, and i mentioned to the senator earlier, when the bureau of alcohol, tobacco, and firearms took a look at the crime guns that were confiscated in the worst, deadliest sections of chicago, 40% of them came from gun shows in northern indiana, where people did not submit themselves to a background check, just went in and bought guns in volume. they come and sell them to gang bangers and thugs on the streets of chicago. so i ask the senator, our intention is to focus clearly on mass murder. but even more so on gun violence in america to protect innocent people who are losing their lives to those who would abuse the use of firearms and those who would turn to these assault weapons, which have no purpose for the legitimate hunter or sportsman. i have said, if you need an
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ak-47, ar-47 to hunt a deer, you ought to stick to fishing, because that is not the weapon of choice of real sportsmen in my state, those that i know. so i ask the senator, when this comes to this general wish of gun vrvelings even though we speak of terrorist -- of gun violence, even though we speak of terrorists, how we'll close the loopholes with the overall issue of guns violence? mr. murphy: illinois and connecticut have the toughest gun laws in the narks but our laws are no good if the state next door to us has the weakest gun laws. if we don't have a national commitment to assure that individuals who are criminals or who are potential terrorists don't buy guns, then it really doesn't matter what with each state does. that's why this background check proposal, which is a bipartisan proposal, which is supported by 90% of americans, 85% of gun
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owners, why this is such a win-win is because it speaks to the very real fear that americans have of continued terror attacks but also addresses this catastrophe of regular, everyday urban gun values. by the time we're done today, senator durbin, 80 people probably will be killed by guns today, many of them in the cities throughout this country and this is a means to both get at the question of terrorist violence and at the question of urban gun violence. i thank the gentleman for joining us on the floor. i yield to the chairman of the judiciary committee for a question. mr. leahy: without losing the right to the floor, i thank my distinguished neighbor in new england. and i ask the senator if he's aware that on the senate judiciary committee, we pushed for years to close the glaring loopholes in the background check system to try to prevent criminals from buying guns
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is the senator aware that today you can have three murder warrants out for you, a conviction for armed robbery and walk to a gun show and buy any kind of weapon you wanted without having to go through any background check or have a license? mr. murphy: through the chair, i am yielding to the gentleman for another question. mr. leahy: i ask, mr. president, if the senator would yield for another question without losing the right to the floor. mr. president, the senator knows that three years ago the judiciary committee reported out these. we actually had broad support on
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measures to stop illegal gun traffic, providing for universal background checks and provide grants to schools to improve their security and to ban assault weapons. and senate republicans filibustered our efforts to make commonsense reforms -- these would make our country safer. the majority of americans supported them. since then i don't even want to think about how many americans -- although i do every day -- have been killed. i believe i speak for most persons that we're tired of the status quo. congress has to act to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and terrorists. so my question to the distinguished senator from connecticut is in order for background checks to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and terrorists, do we need to give law enforcement new tools? in other words, the tools we
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have now are not enough. should we give law enforcement new tools to stop a suspected terrorist or somebody who's recently been under investigation for terrorism from buying a gun? mr. murphy: i thank the gentleman for the question. we have given law enforcement new tools to find people who are contemplating political violence against american citizens, and yet there is this gap now in which law enforcement has information about an individual's potential or real ties to terrorist groups. and yet, we are not able to prevent them from buying a weapon. of course they're prevented from flying but they're not prevented from buying a weapon. and so it is an absolute necessity to give them those new tools, but then also to expand the reach of our background check system to make sure that protection exists no matter where that individual goes to buy a gun, whether they walk into a gun store or into a gun show, as you noted earlier, they
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will be prevented from buying that weapon. it is a large loopholes in the tools we give today, yielding to the gentleman for a question without losing my right to the floor. mr. leahy: mr. president, if the senator would yield further without losing his right to the floor, we know that a person can go to a gun show, but then go online and buy a gun without being subject to a background check or even identification check. one of our local newspapers had an article about a reporter going into a parking lot to somebody he met online; he didn't know, they didn't know him. went to buy an assault weapon for cash. the person insisted on cash. he asked for identification and the person said i prefer not to give any. he said okay, you look old enough.
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and so for $500 out of the trunk of his car. if we made universal background checks mandatory and made it illegal to sell guns without universal background checks, might that make a difference. through the chair to the ranking member of the judiciary committee, what the manchin-toomey bill always contemplated is that sales that were advertised would be covered by background checks. there would be limitations on relative-to-relative transactions. but if you were engaged in any sort of business selling a firearm whether it be at a gun show or out of youring trunk, if you were engaged in business through advertisement, you would have to go through a background check before you sold that weapon. mr. leahy: mr. president, if the senator would yield further for a question without losing
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his right to the floor, i consider myself a responsible gun owner, but i think it's common sense, if we have assault weapons designed for the battlefield, they really have no place on our streets, in our schools, in our churches, in our communities, and i moved and supported an assault weapon ban for the simple reason that these are not -- we don't even allow them for hunting in vermont. would the senator agree with me on that? mr. murphy: i would agree with you. we are both members of new england states. we're both members of states where people enjoy to hunt. i've run into very few hunters who believe they need an ar-15 weapon in order to enjoy their past time. hraeup --
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mr. leahy: if the senator would yield further? mr. murphy: i yield for a question. mr. leahy: in vermont we have very few gun laws. we at least restrict the number of rounds a person can put in a semiautomatic during deer season. i'd like to see as much restriction and protection for children walking our streets or people in our churches or our synagogues or people gathering for social reasons as we do to protect deer herd. so my final question is one that i get from vermonters all the time. these are vermonters, many are gun owners, many are not. all are repulsed and saddened not just by what they saw this past weekend in florida, but what they see with a numbing consistency on our news day
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after day after day of people being gunned down in the streets of america. of america. and they ask me what is congress doing. they ask me why congress is not responding by giving law enforcement the tools they need. certainly law enforcement wants to stop this. and i suspect the questions i get asked in vermont and that are similar at that my friend from connecticut gets. how do we respond to these americans, thousands in vermont, millions throughout this country who say what in heaven's name are you doing in washington to make life safer for us? mr. murphy: i thank the gentleman. i thank senator leahy for being such an amazing champion for being the author of the
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underlying protections we're talking about, an absolute giant on the issue of protecting americans from gun violence. that i think you don't have to dig pretty deep to understand why this body has an approval rating that rivals venereal disease is because, a, they think we spend all our time fighting and, b, they see big, big problems in this nation and this congress doing nothing to even attempt to solve it. and this is a paramount example. a senator: would the senator yield without yielding the floor? mr. murphy: i yield to the gentleman from pennsylvania, and then -- actually, would the senator from pennsylvania wait. mr. toomey: my only reason for asking is that i have to be in the chair at 3:00, at which point i will no longer be able to participate. i would just ask that
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indulgence? mr. murphy: i yield to the gentleman from pennsylvania without losing the right to the floor. mr. toomey: i'll be very, very brief. i know and respect the passion that both senators from connecticut as well as many others have about this issue. i'm of the view that it's time to get something done here. we've been doing a lot of talking. we've got two alternatives to this issue of what to do about people that we have very good reason to believe are terrorists, what to do when they attempt to buy a gun. we had a vote on a version that i think was badly flawed. it was badly flawed because it provided no meaningful process for someone who's on the list wrongly. errors happen. they happen all the time actually. one thing for sure is that innocent people, law-abiding citizens will eventually be on a terrorist watch list. so what i think we need to do here is do everything we can to make sure that terrorists are
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not able to buy guns, at least not legally. but we also need to have a meaningful mechanism for people to challenge their status of being on that list. and that's what we haven't put together here. i think the feinstein approach doesn't provide any meaningful opportunity to appeal one's being put on this list erroneously. and, frankly, the cornyn approach i think probably doesn't give the a.g. the opportunity that an a.g. needs to make the case against someone who actually is a terrorist. so there's an obvious opportunity here, guys, to work together and find the solution. i've been speaking with some of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, and i think there's an interest in doing this. what i'm suggesting is let's get to work here. let's sit down together and let's figure out how we achieve this. because i think everybody ought to be in agreement in principle. we don't want terrorists to be able to walk in to a gun store and buy a gun, and we don't want
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an innocent, law-abiding citizen to be denied second amendment rights because he's wrongly on the list with a bunch of terrorists. this is not rocket science to figure this out. and i thank the gentleman for yielding, and aoeupbl going to take my turn in the chair. but i would love to continue to have this conversation as i have begun it with several of our colleagues. i thank my colleagues on the other side of the aisle for giving me this moment. mr. murphy: i thank the gentleman. reclaiming the floor for his comments; we are here for the explicit purpose of trying to bring this body together in a way that could advance both of these issues: stopping terrorists from being able to bayh guns and then making sure that the law covers as many forms as possible to make sure that that prohibition is effective. the frustration for us is that we have had six months since we last debated that provision. and so if there were ways to come together, we've had six
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months to find that common ground. and our hope -- and i take the gentleman's offer very sincerely holding the floor today, by saying that we will not move on the c.j.s. bill until we resolve these issues will provide the impetus for both sides to come together and find that common ground. so i thank the gentleman for his participation and for his question. i would yield the floor to the senator from minnesota for a question without losing my right to the floor. mr. franken: thank you. i want to thank the senator from connecticut for everything he's doing today on the floor. my question for the senator is whether he's aware of a g.a.o. report requested by senator feinstein that was released yesterday and provides updated data on background checks
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involving terrorist watch list records. mr. murphy: i am familiar with that report, yielding back to the senator for a question. mr. franken: allow me to share very briefly some of the key data points from this and then pose another question. the report provides that during the calendar year 2015, the f.b.i.'s data demonstrate that individuals on the terrorist watch list were involved in firearm-related background checks 244 times. the report further provides that of those 244 times, 233 of the transactions were allowed to proceed, and only 21 were denied. g.a.o. points out that this means that potential terrorists were permitted to buy guns 91%
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of the time in 2015. further, g.a.o. provides that since the f.b.i. began checking background checks against terrorist watch lists in 2004, individuals on such watch lists purchased -- were permitted to purchase weapons 2,265 times out of 2,477 requests. or again, 91% of the time. so i would ask my friend from connecticut, if we are allowing over 90% of people on the terrorist watch list to purchase deadly weapons here at home, does that not suggest that we aren't coming close to doing everything in our power to combat terrorism and address gun
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violence? mr. murphy: i thank the gentleman for the question and for specifically referring to this report. let me just underscore that again. i want to say it again much as senator franken said, this report suggests that over a ten-year period of time, there were 244 times where -- excuse me, let's just use this statistic. over ten years, 91% of people who were on the terrorist watch list who tried to buy a gun were successful. nine out of ten times. and the reason why this is such an important issue that the senator brings up is because, as he knows, people who are trying to commit political crimes against americans, people who are trying to commit acts of terror against americans are increasingly turning to the firearm, to the assault weapon rather than to the i.e.d. or the explosive in order to perpetuate their terror attack. and so, as studies have shown us, studies that i referred to
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earlier today, the weapon of choice in homegrown, domestic terror attacks is the firearm. and why wouldn't we do everything in our power to take that weapon of choice away from those individuals? we are making this country less safe every day that we allow for nine out of ten individuals who are on the terrorist watch list who seek to buy guns to buy them. and, by the way, as you know, that one out of ten isn't deny add gun because he's on the terrorist watch list. that one ous -- that one out ofn is denied a gun because he is on another list. because he's commit add crime to prohibit him from buying a weapon. i yield the floor for a question. mr. franken: my last question for senator murphy. concerning senator feinstein's legislation, senator murphy, as has been discussed, senator
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feinstein's terror gap legislation would give the attorney general the discretion necessary to deny known or suspected terrorists from purchasing firearms or explosives. so long ras there is a reasonable -- so long as there is a reasonable belief that such a purchase would be used in terrorist-related activities. i am a strong support of this legislation. it is a commonsense measure to keep guns out of the hands of potential terrorists a to understand take -- and to take a significant step towards keeping our communities safer. so my last question is whether the senator believes that this legislation would be likely to make a real and significant difference in preventing those on the terrorist watch list from getting guns that they could use in acts of mass violence. mr. murphy: i thank my friend for coming to the floor and
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asking these questions and making these important points. yes, this would make a difference. it would make a difference because we know every month there are people on the terrorist watch list who are trying to buy weapons. not all of them are buying weapons for malevolent purposes. but we know that individuals were in the network of those that were being watched, monitored by the f.b.i. and they were able to buy weapons, despite that. this would make a difference. if we were able to pair it as we are requesting, with an expansion of background checks, that would also make a difference for the thousands of people every month who are dying on the streets of america due to our inability to stop illegal weapons from flowing into our communities. so i thank the gentleman for his questions. mr. franken: i thank the gentleman from connecticut. mr. murphy: i yield to the gentleman from connecticut, who's been with me from the very beginning, yield to him for a question. mr. blumenthal: and proudly
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see, with our colleague from new jersey, i am proud to stand with you as a team here. i'm joined by so many colleagues, the senator from minnesota, and i see that senator murray of washington state has washington joined us. thank you so much. i'm going to ask you a quick question, then i have other questions that i'm going to ask afterward. but i want to pursue a point that our distinguished colleague from vermont raised about the perception of americans that we can't get things done here. and there are many, many issues and problems beyond our control. there are many issues and problems that we cannot effect. the state of the economy perhaps we can impact. world problems seem intractable a lot of the time. but here are commonsense,
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straightforward measures where the senate of the united states and our congress can get the job done, at least save lives. it's really that important. we can save lives if we do the right thing. and the senate has been complicit by its inaction in the loss of those lives, 30,000 every year, some of them at least can be saved by saying and putting in the law the very simple proposition, if somebody is too dangerous to fly, if that person is on a watch list, under investigation, then they should be deemed too dangerous to buy a gun. they are at least as dangerous as a convicted felon, who is now barred from buying a gun. so i want to ask my colleague from connecticut -- and the two of us have spoken to so many people across the country, some
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of shem survivors -- them survivors of gun violence, families who have lost members to gun violence and others who are citizens who watched this carnage, not only in sandy hook and orlando, but on the streets of hartford, moms and dads and brothers and sisters who have lost children. isn't this issue of gun violence and terrorist attacks one of the signature issues of our time in showing the american people that our government can work? we've talked about the message here it sends to our allies. i asked a question about that point. we've talked about the message that it sends to law enforcement, such as the f.b.i. but to the american people, the failure to act not only makes the senate complicit in a moral
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sense in those lives lost but undermines the credibility and trust of the american people in their government to protect them, to achieve the most basic assignment that they give us: to make america safe and secure, safe and secure from the madmen like adam lanza, who killed 20 innocent children and six great educators; or the homegrown terrorists inspired or supported by isis or sent here by some foreign terrorist organization; or the twisted haters who are
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bigotod against -- bigoted against lgbt or some other group. this is about giving our law enforcement authorities and our protectors the powers they need to do their job. and so i ask my colleague from connecticut, whom we have joined today in this effort, is there a message to the american people here that we are sending "enough is enough" but also "enough killing is enough," "enough inaction is enough." we've seen enough. the time for action is now. mr. murphy: i thank the gentleman. i think the question is, why are we here? why did you ask for this job if you didn't want to confront the big questions and the big problems? nobody denies that this is an
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epidemic of criminal proportions. nobody denies that this is happening only in the united states and nowhere else in the industrialized world. nobody denies the crippling, never-ending grief that comes with a loved one being lost. and yet we do nothing. yet we just persist this week as if it's business as usual. why did you sign up for this job if you are a he not prepared to use it -- if you're not prepared to use it to try to solve big problems? i appreciate my friend from pennsylvania's hope that we can find common ground here. we've had a long time to find common ground. we've had four years since those kids were slaughtered in sandy hook to find a solution here. that's why we're here today saying we're not going to go on until we find a solution to the
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two issues that the american people support. murmumrs. murray: will the senar yield? mr. murphy: yes. mrs. murray: i appreciate everything you are doing. a few senators have a better understanding of this -- few senators have a better understanding of this issue. as we mourn for the victims and families that were impacted by the horrific violence and terror against lgbt and latino americans in orlando last sunday, we are reminded once again that nowhere is safe from the epidemic of gun violence in our country, not even in our schools, which should be safe havens for our students. i know that the senator knows this all too well. my home state of washington is no stranger to this as well. in 2014, a man walked into a university in seattle, shooting three students and taking the
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life of a freshman. later that very same year, a 15-year-old boy shot five other students, killing for at mary's high school i mariesville high school students with his gun. those were just two examples in my home state. in newtown and across the country, there are too many shootings in schools to even name anymore. according to a report from everytown, from 12013 to 2016, we had 188 shootings at schoolings a-- at schools across the country. some just a gun going off in the air. other student students were wou. but that is terrifying in a school when a shotgun goes off, that noise. what happens to the kids around us. and it is frightening that this is not letting up. it sick ngs me that in america
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today parents have to wonder if their children will be safe when they send them off to school or when they go a movie theater or mall or even in a street in their own neighborhood. every time there is a new mass shooting, i hear the same questions from the people i represent in washington state: what is congress going to do to stop this? and it frustrates me that every time i come back with the same answer: we've been blocked from doing anything in response to my constituents and the people across the country. people who are asking and begging for us to do something, anything, to stop this scourge of gun violence has once again now been splashed across the front pages of our newspapers and on our tv screens. so, senator murphy, i know you are talking about a umin of issues around -- a number of issues around gun violence today. we all so appreciate it. i wanted to come here and specifically ask you, can you talk a little bit, because you've seen it firsthand, how
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this impacts our students in particular. mr. murphy: well, thank you, senator murray, and thank you for that question in particular. i think back to where i was -- and i think we all can remember with specificity where we were when we first heard about sandy hook, that when he first heard that there were 20 children dead. i was with my then 1-year-old and 4-year-old on a train platform in bridgeport, connecticut, getting ready to go down to new york to see the christmas tree displays. they were so excited. i remember having to tell them that i have to go to work and i left them and my wife on that train platform as we told them that the trip was off. and i'm here today, as i think all of us are, because this is personal to us. my oldest, who was four years old then, is this week in his
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final week of first grade, the same year as those kids who were killed in sandy hook. and so i think in deeply personal terms about what sandy hook means to the kids who survived, in addition to the families who lost loved ones. there is no recovery for that community. that is still a community in crisis. there are waves and ripples of trauma that never end. and i think about the reality of what it is to be a kid in school today, that you are increasingly in an environment that sometimes feels more like a prison than it does a place of learning. that you go through metal detectors, that you perform active shooter drills, that you have to live in a just perpetual state of fear that somebody is going to walk into your school with a gun or there's going to be a gun fight that breaks out between students. that is no way to learn and that
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is no way to live. and so i think almost all of us on this floor, republicans and democrats, either we're parents or we're grandparents, and we know what a horrific reality it must be to live with that fear as a child. and how little solace we give parents when we do nothing. i mean, at least as a parent, if your congress was acting to try to make the next mass shooting less likely, you could maybe hold your head a little higher or your back a little straighter when you're telling your kids it's going to be all right. but there are a lot of kids who are so angry at us because they don't think we're keeping their kids safe. senator murray, i thank you for framing it through the eyes of kids because sometimes we think about this in very clinical terms of stopping someone from committing a crime or how the background check system works but in the end when we specifically talk about these school shootings, this is really about those kids. yielding to the senator for a
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question. mrs. murray: i appreciate the senator's response. to me, there are multiple layers. but certainly if we are not doing anything to provide that safety for our young kids in this country, we are not living up to our responsibility as adults today. and it is horrendous for a parent to get that text home saying there's been a school lockdown. it's even worse if the consequences are real. and it seems to me that the senator is right today to be out here discussing this and bringing our attention to it and doing more than just saying let's do something, but really forcing us to really make sure we are doing something. and i thank the senator and yield back. mr. murphy: i thank the senator from washington. before yielding to the senator from michigan for a question, let me note there are a number of house members who have joined us on the floor today. i thank them for their support in our effort to force a debate and a discussion on the floor of the senate today. i would note that of the house members that have joined there have been a number of different
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states. representative landregran was just on the floor. i know we'll expect more. with that, i would yield to senator peters for a question without losing my right to the floor. mr. peters: i'd like to thank my colleague from connecticut for yielding the floor for a question. while i intend to ask my colleague from connecticut shortly about the interaction between closing the terror gap for gun purchasers and expanding background checks, i would first like to take a moment to mourn the loss of the 49 people who were killed and recognize dozens more who were wounded in the worst mass shooting in our nation, that our nation has ever seen. and while my heart goes out to all of the family and friends of the victims, today i'd like to honor two michigan men, two michigan men who lost their lives that night.
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trevon kro*sby. and christopher landon. trevon was 25, started his marketing business in saginaw. total entrepreneur township was the name of it. it was founded last year and his business already employed about 20 people that handles retail marketing for fortune 500 companies. tevin recently visited family in north carolina to watch several nieces and nephews graduate before traveling to florida to see friends and colleagues. drew was 32 and grew up in detroit before moving to orlando with his mother. he became an activist early in life before studying psychology and becoming a licensed mental
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health counselor. he won the anne frank humanitarian award for his work in the gay community. drew was at pulse with his partner, juan guerrero who also lost his life that night. now instead of potentially helping them plan a wedding one day, their loving families are planning a joint funeral. they want their sons to be side by side as their friends and family pay their respects and bid them farewell. orlando's events serve as a stark reminder that the fight for equality in this nation for lgbt americans must not end with marriage equality. we still live in a nation where americans can face discrimination and even be killed.
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simply because of who they love. we cannot tolerate violence of any individual. this horrific incident raises a number of questions. was it a hate crime? an act of terrorism? an outgrowth of ease in which individuals in this country can purchase deadly weapons with high-capacity magazines. the heinous actions of a self-radicalized young man inspired by and swearing allegiance to isis? the answer to all these questions is "yes." and i urge my colleagues and americans across the country to resist painting this tragedy in simple, reduck alternative terms. this attack was a hate crime. this attack was an act of terrorism and, yes, this attack speaks to the disturbing ease with which dangerous firearms can be acquired in our nation. the problems that led to this tragedy are complex, but complexity is not an argument
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for inaction. we need to start somewhere. thoughts and prayers can be meaningful and are certainly powerful, but we need to do more than just offer our thoughts and prayers. now is the time for action. as senators, we have no higher duty than keeping the american people safe. this includes taking the fight to isis overseas with our allies and vigilant law enforcement here at home. my colleague from connecticut has been discussing two simple, critical changes we can make to help prevent deaths from gun violence in our nation, including acts of terror like we have seen in orlando. we need to keep guns away from those who shouldn't have them. this includes individuals convicted of domestic violence offenses, people with court-ordered restraints related to stalking and convicted
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felons. these groups are already barred under federal law from purchasing or otherwise possessing firearms, and this is enforced through background checks. it is also painfully clear that we need to keep guns out of the hands of terrorists. this is why we need to close the terror gap and prevent individuals on terrorist watch lists from purchasing firearms. unfortunately, however, closing the terror gap cannot be effective without universal background checks. it doesn't matter if we ban selling guns to people on the terror watch list if large percentages of purchasers avoid background check by buying a weapon at a gun show or over the internet. a story from our neighboring state, wisconsin, haunts me as an example of violence that could have been stopped. recently a wisconsin man subject
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to a restraining order from his estranged wife, a man who was barred under current law from purchasing a gun, was able to take advantage of the private seller loophole and purchase a weapon without a background check. he then confronted his wife at the spa where she worked. he killed her and two others, injured four more people before turning the gun on himself. just like our current law bans of gun sales to those convicted of domestic violence or with restraining orders in place against them, closing the terror gap will only be fully effective if we have universal background checks. so my question to the senator from connecticut is this: senator, will closing the terror gap alone prevent the sale of weapons to potential terrorists here in the united states or will we need universal
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background checks to ensure that these individuals are not able to exploit the loopholes in the current law? mr. murphy: thank you to the senator from michigan for asking that question. it's really the crux of the debate here. it's our responsibility to do everything in our power to protect americans from terrorist attacks. the reality is terrorist attacks can come through many different forms but recently it has been coming in one form and that is firearms. so it is our duty to do everything possible to protect americans from that new trend line in terrorist attack. and so you are very right. the answer to your question is that simply putting terrorists on the -- putting suspected terrorists on the list of those who are prohibited from buying weapons is not enough. why? because 40% of gun sales today are not happening in places where background checks are conducted. tough do both. and it's -- you have to do both. and it's not a secret.
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it's not a secret that you can go online to arms list and easily get a weapon within minutes without having to go through a background check. it is full of holes like swiss cheese. so there is very -- there's not no utility but there's limited utility in passing an inclusion of people on the terrorist watch list on to the list of those prohibited from buying weapons unless you do the secondary bill that we are asking for. and as senator durbin and i have talked about a number of times this afternoon, it also has the double benefit expanding background checks of addressing this secondary epidemic, mass shootings, but then also this question of how you stop urban gun violence which is often perpetrated by individuals who have illegal weapons. law enforcement, police chiefs, guys on the front lines in our cities will tell you if you force every gun sale through a background check or virtually every commercial gun sale through a background check we
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will have less illegal firearms on our streets and there will be less carnage on the streets of chicago, new orleans and baltimore. the answer is yes you have to do both in order to protect americans from terror attack but you also have to do both in order to address this ongoing slaughter that often doesn't rise to the level of getting on the national news every night. but it is a reality for people living in our cities. and i yield the floor if the gentleman has any other questions. mr. peters: i don't. i think that sums it up. and i hope that this body will come together and take up this important legislation, this amendment. and if these are separated as two potential votes, which we are hearing may happen, i hope we understand that you can't vote for one and not the other and think that we are really dealing with this issue. if you only block someone who is on a terrorist list and do not require universal background checks, it's basically -- it's a vote that may sound good but
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it's simply not going to be effective in dealing with this horrible situation and dealing with the incident that i mentioned from wisconsin. but as you mentioned, these stories happen every day. they may not capture the national media with the horrible, tragic event like we saw in orlando. but the devastation to the families who have been impacted is every bit as real every single day. and it is the obligation of this body to step up. so i appreciate that answer. i appreciate my colleague from connecticut for standing up on this issue. and i look forward to working closely with you to address this. mr. murphy: the gentleman from pennsylvania is on the floor, has just introduced an incredibly important and tragically on-point piece of legislation. i yield to the gentleman from pennsylvania for a question without losing my right to the floor. mr. portman: i want to thank the senator from connecticut who has taken the floor today to take a stand for those who lost their lives in orlando and so many other places. and i know he has lived through
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that horror representing folks in connecticut who went through the horror of 2012. i have a question about why we haven't taken action. i wanted to set forth a predicate first. the numbers here are just startling when you consider in the context of just the last couple of days, 49 dead and so many others, so many others grievously, and i hope not permanently injured. and all the devastation that means. but here's another number that we probably don't talk about enough. it's a much larger number. it's a number of 33,000. 33,000 americans lose their lives to gun violence every year. that's hard to comprehend. we've lost numbers like that in wars that go over multiple years. so 33,000 is the number. we have to ask ourselves why in
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the face of that, whether it's orlando or newtown or aurora or tucson, and go down the list of mass shootings -- by the way, mass shootings are not part of american life when i was growing up in the 1960's, 1970's and 1980's. this is a rather new phenomenon, very recent vintage. but when a tragedy and a crime happens like this and the scale of it is so immense, we have to ask ourselves is there something we can do? now, the answer by a lot of democrats has been yes, we can do a number of things. we can say finally that military style weapons, that we can ban those so we don't have them on our streets. we can take action instead of just -- instead of just debating
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and expressing solidarity and sympathy and mourning, in addition to doing that, that's appropriate, but in addition to that, we can take action. so we can take action on a military style weapon. we can take action limiting the clips, the amount of bullets that one person can fire at any one time. i am convinced, for example, by based upon the evidence that we saw in newtown, sandy hook elementary school, as the senator from connecticut talked about, the most horrific way those children died, i'm convinced based upon the evidence that the killer, if he had more time, would have killed hundreds, hundreds of children and that number would have gone far above the horrific number of 20. so we can take action on that and make sure that at least
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maybe that criminal, maybe that killer won't have a military style weapon, won't have an unlimited supply of the ammunition. we can also take action on background checks. we tried that. we got the most votes of any of the three votes we took in 2013, but we should certainly vote on that again and take action. that's a third way of taking action. we've had bipartisan consensus on that but not enough. frankly not enough republican votes to pass background checks, which 90% of the american people support. it's hard to comprehend why 90% support it and not enough members of the united states senate. we can also take action on mental health reforms. that, too, has been bipartisan, but that hasn't happened, but that's another way to take action. what i'm trying to do is to focus on the other aspect or at least the additional aspect of this tragedy in orlando, which is, as the president said, i said, a lot of people said, this was an act of terrorism but it
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was also an act of hate, and unless we begin to do something about the problem of -- of hate in america, hate in america which infuses the horrific actions that killers take, unless we take action against that in some fashion, we're not going to solve this problem. so my -- one of the things we could do -- and again, we have got to do a long list of things to deal with gun violence to reduce that number of 33,000 americans dying every year because we refuse, the congress of the united states refuses to take any action at all. but here's what my bill would do. very simple. it would say if you are convicted of a misdemeanor hate crime and you would -- in order to be -- to meet the requirements of this law, it's a two-part test. it would have to be a misdemeanor hate crime that fit this two-part test. number one, it would have to be either an act of violence that
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was part of the conviction or an attempt to use violence or thirdly that there was a -- an action directed at either the attempt, the use or the actual use of force for violence. second, in addition to that, the crime would have to be -- and the conviction would have to be a hate crime motivated by hater bias against eight groups of americans -- hate or bias against eight groups of americans, in what we call in the law protected classes. first of all, if someone committed a hate crime against someone because of their race, and that is on the rise. we're told by the experts that there are over 890 -- the number they put is 892, 892 hate groups in the united states of america. over 190 of them are the -- are
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ku klux klan. all of that is part of this problem. the rise of hate crimes, the rise of hate groups, hate groups directing violence and other actions against african-americans. that's on the rise. hate groups that are targeting muslims, that's on the rise. hate groups that are targeting kids with disabilities, that's on the rise. and of course as we saw so horrificcally in orlando, hate crimes in this case 49 people killed because of animosity against lgbt americans. so if you're going to be engaged in hateful actions that rise to the level of the definition of this -- of this bill and you're directing that at someone because of their race, their color, their religion, their national origin, their gender, their sexual orientation, and
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gender identity or disability. so if you are directing hateful actions against those -- those americans in those classes, that would meet the definition of a misdemeanor hate crime. and the consequence of that, the consequence of conviction or the consequence of a sentence enhancement because of a hate crime would be you would be denied a firearm, and that's one way, just one of many ways that we can make sure that someone's hate is checked at a much lower level. i don't want to wait until that hate manifests itself in a felony conviction, okay, where there is a -- there is a much graver crime that has been perpetrated because of hate because you're directing your hate through violence against individuals because of their race or because of whom they love or because of some other --
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some other reason. so this is one of several ways that i think we can act. the list gets longer. obviously, we're at a point now where we might be able to vote, i hope, on finally taking action on the terrorist watch list. why is it that if you're too dangerous to be on an airplane, you're not too dangerous to have a weapon or to have a high-powered weapon, a military-style weapon with unlimited ammunition to shoot at anyone you want. so there are a lot of things we can do, and that's why i pose the question to the senator from connecticut about what is it that we can do and what is it that we should do? i wanted to -- i wanted to make a point as well before i -- i posed the exact question. we know that in orlando, three of the victims were from philadelphia, my home state. they were in that nightclub in
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orlando when the gunman opened fire. 18-year-old akira murray's family took her and two friends, patience carter was one of the two, and tiara parker. they were on vacation in orlando from philadelphia to celebrate akira murray's graduation from west catholic high school. the presiding officer, my colleague from pennsylvania, knows where that high school is, as i do. she had a full basketball scholarship to mercyherst college, way at the other end of our state, way up in northwestern pennsylvania. she was third in her class. she just happened to be in orlando and happened to be in that club when her life was ended. they were there that night to dance and to laugh. she was 18 years old and not even a resident of that area. both parker and carter were injured in the attack but akira murray lost her life.
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so our heart breaks, everyone in this chamber, everyone for parker and carter as they recover. a year ago this friday marks the one-year anniversary of the massacre at emanuel a.m.e. church in charleston, south carolina. at this historically african-american church, the oldest a.m.e. church in the south, often referred to as mother emanuel, a racist young man with hate in his heart opened fire and took nine shots. we all know the very moving speech that the president gave that day or the days after, but he said, one of the things the president said was we have to recognize the uncomfortable truth of that tragedy, and that truth is staring us in the face
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today. it still stares us in the face. so i think we must act when you consider 33,000 killed every year by gun violence, 43,000 hate crimes with a firearm over the course of just four years. 43,000 hate crimes over four years with a firearm. when you consider those numbers, we have a long way to go. so i ask my colleague from connecticut -- i guess it's a two-part question. why is it that when these things happen, these horrific events happen, we have some people -- and this is part of the debate -- some people who seem to -- their answer when we say we need to take action or will you join us in taking action, the answer is we just have to enforce existing laws, and that's as far as we can go. we can't do anything more than that. we just have to enforce existing laws. so i'd ask that part of the
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question. the second part is if we believe the answer to that question is no, we can do more, what is it we should be doing? and i pose this because i have to only wonder and imagine, really imagine in horror, what if that was our answer? what if that was our answer on september 12, 2001, and the days after that? what if we said at the time, you know what, this is a horrific event what happened on 9/11. 3,000 people were killed. the country was shaken to its core, but terrorism is a difficult problem to solve. we will always be dealing with it. we should just enforce existing laws. no, we didn't do that. we said no, we're going to stop this from happening. we're going to say that -- we're going to take action so that planes won't be flying into buildings and killing thousands of people. we're going to take action to stop that. and guess what? people came together in this country from one end of the country to the other and we
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solved that problem. it hasn't happened. now, we have had other terrorist attacks. we know that. we know we will continue to fight terrorism. but we solved part of the problem because we came together. we even opened up a new federal government agency, for goodness sake, the department of homeland security, which has made our country safer. we have a long way to go on this issue. but i'm glad that we answered that question with a determined effort and with a consensus across this city, this center of government and across the country that no, we're not going to surrender to the terrorists. we're going to take action to stop them from getting on airplanes. why is it, why is it that we're not taking the same approach to gun violence? it is complicated. it is difficult to solve this problem. but why not take a series of actions that in and of themselves will not solve the problem, but we can at least take -- we can at least take
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action. so i ask the senator from connecticut why is it that the answer by so many people who serve in congress is there is not much we can do except enforce the law, and if we can take these actions, which i believe we can, what is it that we could do? mr. murphy: i thank the senator for his question and for his passion and for his ability to articulate how complicated this issue is and the complicated nature of the motivation that led to the shooting in orlando, which is why the senator's legislation that would elevate the treatment of hate crimes with respect to the prohibition on gun sales is so critically important here, and i hope we have time to debate that as well. it is imperative that we act right now, and it is within our power to change the reality that exists every day on the streets of america and with respect to these mass shootings. what we have is loads and reams of data from state experiences to tell us that when you take
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these commonsense steps like applying background checks to a broader range of gun sales, you have a dramatic reduction in the number of gun homicides that are committed, you have a dramatic reduction in the number of people that are killed. so there is no doubt that we have the ability to do something here. and you are right that there is a pan play of measures that -- panoply of measures we need to consider. we have suggested starting with the two that are the least controversial. start with the two that have the broad support of the american public. story start with an expansion of background checks at gun shows and inclusion of those on the terrorist watch list. those are the two that there is no controversy outside of this body on so it would be a nice start and then we can get to working on all of those other measures that will truly end up in substantial change, a change in reality to the people who live with this epidemic every day. so i thank the gentleman for his questions and for his passion on this issue. the senator from -- i yield to the senator from oregon for a question without yielding control of the floor. mr. wyden: i thank my colleague,
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and i want to thank him and senator booker and senator blumenthal for what they have done today. here's the bottom line for me. , senator murphy and colleaguess are now happening like clockwork in america. thursdathursten, columbine, tuc, newtown, aurora, charleston, roseberg, and orlando, communities being torn apart by unspeakable gun violence like clockwork. in this building we come together now for moments of silence honoring the victims of these shootings, like clockwork.
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and like clockwork this congress does nothing about it. when i was home last month, i visited at umpqua community college gist outside -- just outside of roseberg which was one of the deadliest school shootings in our nation's history. what i saw at umpqua community college, what i heard from those at the school and the families at the community is i'm sure a lot like what my friend from connecticut hears about how the suffering doesn't go away. the one-year anniversary of the shooting in charleston, south carolina, is coming up soon. i'm quite sure it's the same way for people in south carolina. the trauma, the process of
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mourning, rebuilding, and then trying to find a way somehow, some way to just be able to move forward from the enveloping grief. it's a horrendous experience and a common experience now that so many of our communities share. and the reality is the trauma doesn't just vanish into the vapor. the news cameras are eventually going to leave orlando, just like they left roseburg. the bullet holes in the nightclub get patched up. the families and the friends of the victims try to live their lives as best they can, and it's going to be such a difficult, difficult task for the lgbtq community in orlando but the
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trauma, the trauma isn't vanishing. so there's no perfect solution but trauma ought to be followed up in a very concrete way with some specific, constructive steps that begin to lay out an answer. just seems to me that the senate and the congress, the idea of following up with more moments of silence, with more inaction just isn't enough. they're common steps, practical steps that the congress can take now. those who've argued that the only possible response to the shooting in orlando can come in a war zone thousands of miles away are looking for excuses not to do something, not to do something meaningful here at
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home. there are steps that can be taken now to curb this violence. it won't stop every crime. a number of ideas have been discussed before, but the victims of the shooting are owed a response. first, i know my colleagues have mentioned this this afternoon, senator feinstein has put forward a proposal to close the dangerous terrorist gun loophole. i thought that was a sensible step, common sense. people shouldn't look at that as a partisan issue. americans want to know why anybody would vote to allow individuals suspected of terrorist ties and motivations to purchase regulated firearms. next, close the loopholes, close the loopholes in the background checks. it is way past time to do that
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and stop allowing the purchase of a gun online or at a gun show without a background check. certainly the background checks themselves have to be substantially improved. there are holes that ought to be plugged, including those that keep guns in the hands of somebody who's been a convicted domestic abuser. we're not talking about a charge. we're not something that's speculative. we're talking about a convicted domestic abuser. once and for all, the congress ought to close the pipeline for illegal guns, straw purchases, gun trafficking. these ought to be federal crimes. the senator from connecticut and i have also been strong advocates of beefing up the research into gun violence. there's been a prohibition on doing that. say that one to yourself. a prohibition on doing research into gun violence? just identifies -- justifies common sense.
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it makes no sense at all to block the centers from disease control from gathering information that can help our communities and our families be safe. and i'm just going to wrap up by getting personal for a moment. my late brother suffered from serious mental illness. senator murphy, not a day went by, not a day went by when i wasn't worried that my brother was a disits disiz friendic would be out on the streets and he would hurt himself or hurt somebody else. that was the case with my family. it is time to establish once and for all a system through which individuals who are found to be a potential threat to themselves or others can get the treatment
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they need. and i see my colleague from michigan here who has championed this effort year after year after year. so i'm not going to recap the proposals. some of them have been discussed at length here on the floor, but a majority of americans find these kinds of common sense gun safety measures not to be ones that infringe on the rights of responsible gun owners or violate the second amendment or even come close to it. a majority of gun owners think that these proposals make sense. so what i would like to ask my colleague from connecticut in terms of really an update because my colleague from connecticut has been a leader in this effort. senator feinstein's proposal, of course, is designed to prevent those on the watch list from buying a gun.
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numbers have been thrown around repeatedly about the number of people this would actually impact. and i know that the general accounting office has looked into this and can you tell me how many people on this watch list have been able to buy a gun? mr. murphy: thank you, senator wyden for the question. it's a really important one because the number is -- in certain ways it's shocking for how high it is and how low it is at the same time. let's take 2015. in 2015 there were 244 individuals who are on the terrorist watch list who attempted to buy weapons. 223 of those were successful in buying the weapon so in 90% of the occasions that someone on the watch list attempted to buy
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a weapon, they walked out of that store with the weapon. it gives you, a, the sense of the copy of this. there is only 224 people over the course of the whole year that were on the terrorist watch list that attempted to buy a weapon, but what we know from this weekend is that it only takes one in order to create a path of death and destruction that is almost impossible to calculate and it's just impossible for the american public to understand how that number persists, how we allow for 90% of the people on that watch list to walk into a store and to successfully buy a weapon. that's the number from 2015, 223 out of 244 they were successful. yielding the floor for a question. mr. wyden: i thank my colleague. i'll just wrap up by way of saying that it seems to me that what has been learned here is that while the investigation
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goes on, there may have been a terrorist attack. there may have been a hate-inspired attack. my question is, aren't the steps that i've outlined here today common sense, practical steps whether it is a hate-inspired attack and we've seen the human toll, the discrimination takes against those who are targeted on the basis of hate. we've seen what it means to families who have been struck by terror, but aren't the steps that have been outlined here by you and colleagues on the floor, senator casey, very valuable proposal, aren't these common sense legislative efforts, legislative efforts that make sense whether this has been primarily a terror attack or a
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hate-inspired attack? mr. murphy: i thank the gentleman for the question. they are common sense measures and measures supported by the broad cross-section of the american public. what you are proposing is only controversial here in the united states senate. it's controversial nowhere else in this country. mr. wyden: i thank them for their courtesy. mr. murphy: i yield to the senator. a senator: thank you. pride is an institution in boston. this year marked our 46th annual march. ms. warren: i have gone to pride for years. and when i go, i don't march. i dance. i dance with people, young people and old people, black people and white people, asian people and latino people, gay people and straight people, bisexual people, transgender people, queer people. the parade has everything. it has boats, elaborate
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costumes, tons of onlookers. one boston reporter called our parade pure joy and he is right. i love boston's pride parade. i love it as much as anything i've done as a u.s. senator. for me this parade is the tangible demonstration of what happens when we turn away from darkness and division and turn toward our best selves, when we turn toward each other. it shows us what this nation looks like when we're at our best. inclusive, strong, united, optimistic, proud. it shows us what this nation looks like when we beat back hate and embrace each other. early sunday morning at around 2:00 a.m., someone tried to take that away from us, and it wasn't the first time. it was the most recent and it was extreme and horrible and shocking. dozens of lives lost. dozens more injured. all across our country we grieve for those lost and for their
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families and for their loved ones, and this is especially true in massachusetts. three years ago the people of boston came face to face with terror at the finish line of the boston marathon. the cowardly attack and its aftermath took lives, injured people, and forever changed a beloved tradition. this week two people with massachusetts roots were killed in orlando and at least two more were wounded. 37-year-old kimberly k.j. morris who was working the door at pulse had lived in north hampton, massachusetts for more than a decade performing in nightclubs and working at am herrest college -- amherst college and smith college. she recently moved to florida to help take care of her mother and grandmother. 23-year-old stanley omardo. he came out of the bathroom at pulse as the bullets were flying. he pushed people out of harm's
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way as he was shot three times. a third massachusetts native who survived the massacre was also shot three times. angel cologne of framingham, massachusetts was shot in the leg, the hand and the hip. he is alive today only because the gunman missed his head as he shot those who were lying on the floor to make sure they were dead. 37-year-old jeffrey rodriguez raised in leominster remains in critical condition now. rodriguez was shot three times. a of tuesday he had undergone three surgeries. his family is optimistic that he will pull through and all of us from massachusetts and all across the nation are rooting for him. there are still things we don't know about the shooter. we don't know about his planning, his motives, things we may never know. but here's what we do know. we know that the shooter called 911 and pledged allegiance to isis declaring his intention to
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be known in history as a terrorist. we know he carried an assault-style weapon that was designed for soldiers to carry in war. and we also know that hundreds of people in orlando went to the pulse nightclub to continue their celebration of pride and that the shooter targeted them to die. i woke up on sunday morning still in the glow of the boston pride parade. boy, that ended fast. but i thought about the history of pride. in the 1960's, the mere act of publicly associating with the lgbt community was considered radical. that was true even in places where the community came together to seek strength and protection like new york's greenwich village. greenwich village's stonewall inn was one of the most popular gay bars in new york and it was regularly raided by police officers who arrested patrons for any number of bureaucratic


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